By Mike Peake.
It had been a long day of challenging and fun driving and we’d all loved every minute of it. We were all back at base camp now, putting on our glad rags and making ourselves look beautiful for our evening meal to celebrate a great day and my upcoming 50th birthday. 28 of us set off to the Druids Inn with Anita carrying an intriguing package which turned out to be a fabulous birthday cake she’d made for me. (Unfortunately, I had to share it though.)
Most of us were eventually served a rather lovely dinner but I think the pub had bitten off more than it could chew with such a large party. It took a long time to serve us all, leading to some having finished before others were even served and the final meals out really weren’t up to standard. Unfortunately, it was Windy Woodward, Tosh Brooks and Liam White that were last to be served. Windy and Tosh got the bad meals but they are shy and retiring types and didn’t want to cause a fuss (Ahem).
Liam on the other hand was getting hangrier and hangrier. Spotting the warning signs of an imminent Liam explosion, we shouted at the staff that they needed to serve the roasted vegetable and chicken as soon as they could. Unfortunately, they only heard the vegetable bit and bought out a side plate of vegetables. Realising that it would be extremely life-limiting for the server to attempt to give this plate to our devout and hungry carnivore, Nick’s current carer Jo, ushered them back into the kitchen and returned with the correct order.
It was a shame and I hope it didn’t spoil the evening too much for anyone, but maybe we are just getting a bit too big to expect a pub to cope. On the plus side, my meal was excellent. I really enjoyed it and none of us was laughing at our 3 hungry desperadoes at all… honest!
Everyone except Liam had finished eating. Cake candles were lit, Happy birthday sung and cake cut and eaten. It was time for the awards that I wanted to give out to people I felt deserved them. It was just rosettes though so don’t get thinking I splashed out.
The final award was the “brave boy” award for not blubbing too much when his multi award winning Zephyr didn’t win at our Coventry meet and didn’t win here either. Yes, Windy Woodward is a very brave boy.
Awards done but I wasn’t allowed to sit down. Gar was stood next to me with an extremely well bubble-wrapped parcel saying lots of very nice things about me of all people, before presenting me with the parcel. It took me a while to fight through all the layers, but I eventually revealed the gift and was really quite taken aback. It was an oil painting of one of my favourite pictures ever taken of Poppy with me and my young daughters feeding the ducks at South Cerney Lakes in the background.
I really hope I was able to get over to everyone just how pleased and touched I was at the thought that went into choosing and commissioning such a gift and the generosity of those who contributed.
I was, and still am, somewhat overwhelmed by it all, but a huge and heartfelt thank you to all involved. I will cherish it. Of course I am also quite overwhelmed at the thought that this means some of you do actually quite like me. I thought you just put up with me for the award winning lemon drizzle cake.
We all returned to base camp where we blatantly ignored the “Silence after 10.30 PM” signs plastered all over the site and continued the party. The camp fire was lit, much beer and wine was consumed and the hilarity continued.
Paul Cheetham won the game to see how many marsh mallows you can fit in your mouth (a quite surprising amount it turned out). However, Tosh should get a large credit for this win as it was him that stuffed them all in there.
The award for “who could create the best cave painting using Kurt as a stencil” went to Tosh who chose to use the medium of “squirty cream”. However, Kurt should get a large credit for this win as it was him squirting the can of squirty cream into Tosh’s mouth until he choked.
Eventually, we all made our way to our beds so we would be fresh and ready in the morning.
Sunday dawned bright, sunny and warm. No. Really it did! I know, on an EBMV event too. It must be because it was Phil’s tour and not Gar’s. Anyway it was warm. You get the picture, and some changes were rung. We lost Chris Ball and his MGB, Kevin and Sheila’s support Volvo, Rob Shalcross and his Tempest and Chris Baker and his TR7. However we gained a couple of aging hippies in the form of Richie Moore in his gloriously crusty MK1 Granada and Ian Wright in his gloriously shiny MK2 Granada.
We were almost ready to go but were still waiting for Andy Perman and Liam White who were too posh to camp with us and were staying in a local hotel. It was no surprise at all that Last Minute Liam was late but it was unlike Andy. We were just starting to worry when Andy pulled in looking worried. He got out of his VDP and came up to me. I said “What’s wrong Andy? Tell me? Has Liam broken down in his P6? His fuel line has broken away from his carburettor? Oh No. I’ll get Super Enthusiast Man at once. (Oh my gods! It’s turning into an episode of Lassie!)
The Brooks camper shook, the rear doors burst open. There stood Super Enthusiast Man in all his Glory! No, not that glory. Euww! I mean in his boiler suit, cape, flat cap and Y-fronts over the top! Anyway, with a mighty bound he was in the VDP and off to rescue Liam. The rest of us were left sniggering as it couldn’t happen to a better bloke after all the micky taking he’d done (or was that just me?)
As we have come to expect, Super Enthusiast Man and Liam in a running P6 were soon back at the site and we were ready to head off. We set off to Buxton for the fuel stop of the day, where Liam broke down again, spilling petrol all over the forecourt and needed Super Enthusiast man to work his magic again. (No, I mustn’t laugh. Stop it!)
Liam was soon up and running again and we all set off in a full convoy of 15 cars. Driving through Buxton and other populated areas in a large convoy of classic cars is a lot of fun. It makes a real impact that 2 or 3 cars don’t achieve. Muggles actually stop what they’re doing to watch, smile, point, wave and take pictures. It is great to watch everyone’s reaction as you drive past. Personally, I much prefer driving like this. It really is great fun.
After Buxton, Phil soon had us back on some fantastic fun and challenging roads again and we had a great drive to our 1st stop of the day. The Dam on the Errwood Reservoir. It was beautiful looking out across the water at the scenery. (Oh my gods! It’s just struck me! I was looking at scenery, taking pictures of scenery and appreciating scenery! That’s something my Mum and Dad did! It’s official! I am actually… OLD!)
The rest of the leg to Allgreave was equally beautiful and the roads were fantastic. The Cat and Fiddle road was awesome as the scenery changed from rugged hills to open barren moorland.
After Allgreave we wound our way up to Flash. At 1518 ft, this is the highest village in the country and offered great views as we stopped for a cup of tea. A really nice MGA was also stopped there and of course we all had to have a chat to the owner before watching him drive off. Gus also got told off by the pub land lady for parking Henry in her front garden.
Suitably refreshed, we all headed off again for our lunch stop in Hartington. I was just behind Big Rov at the front of the convoy and Anita was reading out the notes on this leg of the tour to me. She had just got to the bit about how the junction with the B5043 comes out of nowhere and is really easy to miss when Phil pulled us all over and got out of his car and back into C3P0. ”We’ve missed the junction with B5053” he said. “It appeared out of nowhere and we’ve driven straight past it.”
Turning 15 classic cars around on a single track road isn’t the easiest of exercises but we all managed it with minimal mutterings about bumbling fools who can’t even follow their own directions. In no time at all we were back on course for our lunch stop in the lovely village of Hartington and the Charles Cotton Pub. The landlord had cleared the apron in front of the pub and wanted us to park here so he could take promo photos. We wouldn’t all fit and those at the back of the convoy had to make do with the car park out the back. We also met up with Dave Aikman and his MK3 Cortina.
Another lovely lunch of sandwiches and chips was served before we all descended on the famous cheese shop and cleaned them out before heading off on the leg to Tissington via the much anticipated Wetton Tunnel.
I have to admit, we all turned into little boys playing with toy cars only bigger as we queued up to go through one at a time. Photographers, drone operators and sound engineers were positioned at the other end of the tunnel and we were ready to go. Nick and the Jensen went through first and the sound was incredible. No one else came close to matching. It was huge fun though.
Anita was a bit bemused by the whole thing as we sat waiting and watching those in front of us roar through with big grins on their faces. “I just don’t see what the appeal is” she said. Then it was our turn. There we were at the tunnel entrance revving Poppy’s engine and waiting for Phil to finish his run.
Then we were off, accelerating hard and making as much noise we could. With the roof down we could really hear that plucky little four pot reverberating off the tunnel walls. As we shot out the end of the tunnel for our picture, I looked over to see that Anita had a matching big grin on her face too. “Ok, That was fun” she allowed.
It wasn’t all fun and games though. After we went through Gar was approached by a local chap walking his dog who immediately started berating him. “Have some regard for the locals” he shouted at a bemused Gar. “We get this all the time and you lot look old enough to know better!” Then just as Gar was trying to pacify the chap by assuring him that in fact we were mature and weren’t creating too much noise or fuss, Liam wheelspun away with his V8 screaming and shouting “WOOHOO” out the window. The chap just looked at Gar and said “I’m calling the Police” before storming off.
Gar then tried to herd everyone else through as quickly as possible before the police arrived but they were all intent on having their fun and Nick insisted on another run in the Jensen. Eventually though, we did clear the area and despite Liam briefly scaring us with the siren facility on a bull horn that he produced from somewhere, we avoided the Rozzers for the rest of the tour. (Who the hell thought it was a good idea to give Liam a bull horn??)
The rest of the tour passed in a haze of happiness that was periodically broken by Liam shouting rude comments through his bull horn. Even this didn’t spoil the fun though. Far too soon, we were back at base camp and people were packing up, saying their goodbyes and leaving. Everyone was saying what a great time they’d had and I have to agree that this was the group’s best event so far, and this time, I really don’t think we can better it.
So I know that I say this on behalf of everyone on tour. Huge, massive thanks with squirty cream an cherries on top to Phil C3P0 and Lorraine Allin for setting all this up. We all really appreciate the effort and hard work you put into this and assure you it was worth it. I think I can say with certainty that we WILL be back so you better start planning the next one.
Monday morning saw us taking a leisurely drive home with Anita towing the caravan via a more direct and less stressful route following Poppy and me. I even took her for a romantic lunch in the car park of the M42 services. After a total of 519 trouble free miles we pulled up at home.
I would like to thank all who attended and made this such a great weekend. I hope that those of you who joined us for the 1st time enjoyed as much as we all did and that you felt welcome and want to come again. I for one had the time of my life.
Boston next although it might have already happened before I get around to publishing this. So, I’ll see you soon with more tall tales of a bank holiday weekend.
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