Author Archives: Alastair Johnson

Christmas Lunch 2017

Due to the weather it was not a great turnout for the club Christmas lunch, however some adventurous types made it, albeit on foot, as can be seen by the photograph (Alastair Johnson not shown as he was behind the camera).

Merry Christmas and a Happy new year to all our members.

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November Club Meeting

Our meeting for November centred on the presentation of the £750 cheque to “Severn Freewheelers”. Derek received the donation on their behalf and thanked our club for it’s support to this self funding voluntary organisation. You may remember that the “ Freewheelers” came to our June meeting and gave a very informative talk on their work in our area. Some of you may have seen the recent report in the Forest Review.To conclude the meeting there was a brief film documenting the charity work of Terry Oliver and Basil Williams involving large models of Thomas the Tank & Fireman Sam. Terry gave a narration explaining the events and those charities that benefitted from their efforts. One of which involved a group pushing Fireman Sam’s fire engine from Coleford to London!

The Club would like to thank all the members for the support shown.

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November Run

Our last Sunday run of 2017 was organised by Terry and Margaret and started from the Garden centre at Monmouth. Members started to arrive just after 10am and after morning refreshments it was time to set off towards our lunch stop near Newport. Club cars with a smattering of moderns took the suggested route over the ridge road through Trellech and Devauden until we dropped down to Shirenewton. The weather was clear and sunny which revealed the countryside in all it’s late autumn colour and it’s expansive views towards the Welsh hills. Arriving at our Lunch stop at “The Barn” in Llanmartin it was time to reflect on the navigational blunders some members may live to regret come awards night in January, One pair of members (no names, no pack drill) had even forgotten it was the day of the run, so got treated to a rousing cheer upon their arrival for lunch. Our November run has always been the shortest of the year, so after an excellent lunch we rejoined our cars for the run back to Chepstow garden centre. Up to now the chairman and his wife had been traveling in the MGB with the hood down and on arrival at Chepstow put the hood up. This proved a very prudent act as exiting the Garden centre it was obvious the there had been a very heavy rainstorm. Historically some pre-Christmas shopping has taken place on the November run and for some members this again proved the case. Shopping and browsing complete it was time to journey home. Some chose to travel up the Wye Vally to our homes and were rewarded by the return of the sunshine and Autumn colours. Our thanks go to Terry and Margaret for organising the day and also for donating the run money to the clubs chosen charity of the “Severnfreewheelers”.

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October Club Meeting

Our well attended October meeting was held in our new base at Ellwood Football Club and as in past years it started with the option of a ploughman’s supper which was followed by the Harvest raffle. Our thanks go to all who donated goods and members who bought tickets in support of our chosen charity of “Severn freewheelers”. After the chairman had gone through the notices of the day the raffle to place and raised £100 for the charity concerned. This money will be added to the funds already raised during the past years events. Our thanks also go to the ladies of Ellwood Club for the food and warm welcome.

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October club run

Our October run was organised by Nigel Hill and Dave Salmon and started from the Millbrook Garden Centre near Monmouth. Members arriving early took advantage to get some shopping under their belts before enjoying a pre run cup of Tea or Coffee in the Tea rooms  and of course a good chat. Dave unfortunately had to do the role call and organise us all as Nigel had forgotten it was Suzanne’s birthday,(Now thats what I call living dangerously), so sent his apologies. (It’s OK Nigel we will forgive you, not sure Dave will). Eight club cars and three moderns started out on what was billed as a chance to give some of our older cars a run out. The route took us over the top road to Trellech passing through Llanishen and Devauden following what in the main was the national cycle route numbers 32 & 42. It was a very scenic route with broad vistas over the open countryside from our high vantage point. Broad wouldn’t be the word I would use for the road in places it has to be said. Our lunch venue was at St Pierre golf club and after pre-lunch drinks we were ushered into “The Morgan Suite”, for a first class carvery lunch. I would recommend it for it’s choice of well cooked meats and vegetables and marvellous array of deserts. After Lunch we retraced our route towards Carwent and arrived at Dewstone Gardens and Grotto. It is some years since we had been here and there has been a lot of work carried out to the gardens to enhance the overhaul site. Some members enjoyed a cup of tea after viewing the gardens before setting off towards home and in some cases the final stop at the Abbey Mill tea rooms at Tintern. The weather was dry all day which only added to a very pleasurable day spent out with friends and our lovely old cars. Thank you both very much.

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Jersey Tour 2017

Six club cars with twelve members took part in the Tour of Jersey organised by Barbara and me, mostly meeting at Chepstow to start our journey to Poole to board the fast ferry to St Helier. The route took us along country lanes and main roads avoiding motorways to Laycock village near Chippenham for coffee and it was here that the final members of the group joined us. After coffee and a walk around the village we set off for Shaftesbury to take in the local sights and have lunch. The Hovis boy must have had good legs to push his fully laden bike up Golden Hill!

Returning to the cars we set off towards Poole for our overnight stay ready for the early ferry crossing. To say it was a smooth journey would be far from the truth, in fact Jim, the gentleman sitting behind me, said he had never had a worse crossing in all the time he had been living in Jersey! People around me lying on the floor, children and adults being sick, just wonderful.

Jim had talked to one of the crew about the conditions and had been told that they had decided to continue to Jersey rather than return to Poole as we were more than mid way on the crossing. The irony of talking to Jim was he had just been staying at the Speech House Hotel and visited a friend in Yorkley (Yes you have guessed it Margaret Guest knew the people in Yorkley and had gone to school with Jim’s friend). As a result of talking to Jim we got an invite to the Pallott Steam Museum who were having an open day on the Saturday, tractors, classic cars & steam engines – the full works.(www.pallotmuseum.co.uk) Well that’s one day sorted I thought.

Leaving the ferry we travelled to our base at the Prince of Wales in Greve de Lecq, arriving in mid afternoon. Washed and refreshed it was time to meet in the bar for a pre-meal drinks. After a good meal we all felt a lot better and after making plans for the next day it was off to bed.

Jersey is only nine miles by five miles, so you are never very far from anywhere. The north is very much like the north Cornish coast and the south and east are predominately sandy beaches so is quite varied considering the total area of Jersey. The island is criss-crossed with narrow lanes so driving can get interesting when faced with tractors and sight-seeing buses, but with speed limits of forty, thirty and twenty mph no one is in that much of a hurry.

The members in the main went their separate ways on most days, with the exception of the Saturday morning Steam Fair, but we all got together in the evening to exchange stories of the days visits before eating in the restaurant.

All too soon the week was over and the return ferry journey was wonderfully calm, arriving in Poole promptly in the evening. After another overnight stay at the same hotel (Colin remarked that they hadn’t fixed the toaster since our first stay) We travelled back to the Forest, some members visiting Kingston Lacy (NT) on their way.

From the comments we received it would seem that everyone enjoyed the Jersey experience and some want to go back again!

Barbara and I would like to thank all the members who took part in the Jersey Tour. (And also the staff at the Prince of Wales who looked after us all so well.) Who knows we may get to do it again sometime.

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Speech House show

The Club stand at Speech House show was a much needed shelter from the rain. The numbers of people attending was down on last year, but that was to be expected given the weather forecast. It was a shame that so many exhibitors chose to stay away given the hard work that was put into organising the event. Those that did brave the weather are to be given credit and were rewarded with a great show. Can’t say the club tent was as busy as last year, but that was to be expected given the changeable weather.

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August Club Meeting

Our club night this month centred on an illustrated talk on Iceland by our chairman. After a brief outline of the country and some of it’s history it was time to show some of his holiday photographs to the members present. The pictures taken spanned a period of seven day and started in Reykjavik and followed the progress of the internal flight to Egilsstadir and the Tour following the south coast road back to Reykjavik taking in Ice flows, Glaciers, Volcanic planes, geysers, waterfalls and the Blue Lagoon. Given that the main reason for the trip was to see “The Northern Lights”, we were truly amazed at the things that we saw in addition to the lights and the friendliness of the people. If you would like a different type of holiday and don’t mind the cold (-15 plus wind chill) the Chairman would recommend it.

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August Run

Our run this month was organised by Bernard and Margaret Guest. They have always produced very scenic routes, so with the weather not looking to good it must have had them worried as the afternoon visit was a garden.

Twenty eight members attended the run, with eleven club cars and three moderns  gathering at the “New Fancy View” for the 9-30 start . With the rain clouds gathering we set off across the forest towards Tidenham Chase and on towards Chepstow for our morning coffee stop. The weather by this time had brightened up considerably and some even considered the idea of lowering their hoods to enjoy some top down motoring (It didn’t happen). Leaving the coffee stop we traveled through country lanes towards Shirenewton,Llangwyn and finally to Llansoy for lunch. The route had taken us through some stunning countryside with amazing views, which was enhanced by some sunshine along the way. As we settled down for lunch at “The Star” the heavens opened and we got to see the rain sheeting down as we had been allocated seating in the very impressive conservatory. It was by this time that we became concerned that two of our members had failed to arrive (they were in a modern), so after trying to contact them several times it was discovered that they had got lost and had returned home ( I feel another trophy coming on).

Leaving the lunch stop after a very good meal, we rejoined our cars to travel to the “Veddw house garden” near Devauden, it has been visited by Alan Titchmarsh in the past for a programme called “Love Your Garden”,on ITV.  You can learn more about the garden and it’s history by going to www.veddw.com . It truly is a work off love and dedication with details reflecting the past at the settlement know as the Veddw.

The afternoon was rounded of by a tea stop at Tintern Station, where some members couldn’t resist the cakes on offer.

Our thanks go to Bernard and Margaret for yet another scenic route and a lovely day out. Any chance of another next year?

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Bring a car night

As always, our July meeting was ‘Bring a car night’ and Bells car park was a very impressive sight with 20 ‘historic’ vehicles on display.

Terry had once again arranged for three independent judges to choose a vehicle that they admired, fancied or would like to have taken home with them and this year, the car chosen to receive the Sheila Brown Memorial Cup was  the 1958 Austin Healey Sprite Mk1 Frogeye owned by Chris Baston.

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