This weekend run was organised by Mary and Dave and it is the last weekend run that they will be organising for us and who can blame them for wanting to call a halt, after all they have done every one of our weekends with the exception of the New Forest weekend over the last twenty odd years.
The route started in Gloucester and took us through Gotherington and past the Hill climb circuit at Prescott arriving at the Royal Oak in Winchcombe for breakfast. Refreshed the twelve cars proceeded to Evesham and Pershore in dry and mostly sunny conditions (Glad I brought the MGB). Leaving Gloucestershire behind we entered Warwickshire and finally arrived at Packwood House for our morning visit and Lunch. Leaving Packwood it was only a short run to our afternoon visit at Baddesley Clinton. Both houses have had an interesting and colourful past and are well worth a visit if you are in the area. Returning to our cars we travelled on to the Westmead Hotel, which was to be our base for the weekend. The food and service was excellent only enhanced by the friendly staff who enjoyed our banter (one young waitress declared that we were the best guests she had ever had to serve).
Saturday was the visit to the Black Country Museum in Dudley. The route that Dave and Mary had provided gave us panoramic views over the city from open countryside dispelling any pre-conceptions of this being a city break. We all spent the day in the Museum enjoying the sunshine and outdoor exhibits. The cars got plenty of attention as we were parked near the main entrance. Returning to the Hotel for a rest and our evening meal. Terry and I organised the raffle which raised £105 for the Severn Freewheelers (Our chosen charity this year).
Sunday saw us make a return to the Birmingham Society of Model Engineers at Hockley Heath (Terry was a happy bunny). The journey there was a bit of an adventure as they had closed some of the local roads which rather disrupted our route, (One local resident was, shall we say very upset at the closures and I can’t put in print his profanities on the situation). The Society provided a lovely buffet lunch for use and gave free rides to all that wanted them. The attention to detail on these locomotives is testament to the skill of these people who in some cases scratch build these engines. The afternoon visit was to the Transport and Bus Museum at Wythall, I’m pleased to report that the roads had been reopened by this point, so no more irate locals to spoil the journey or require the fitting of ear plugs. We displayed our cars in the front of the main workshops and some had the opportunity to have a guided tour of the museum while others toured the workshops.
Monday came around all to soon and it was time to travel back to the Forest. Our first stop off was at Arley Arboretum for a visit round the gardens and a buffet lunch. The grounds are quite extensive and at some points give good views of the Severn and of course the Severn Valley Railway. I don’t know how Mary arranged it but we even had the pleasure of seeing a GWR locomotive leaving Arley station, quite a sight. Leaving Arley we travelled to Dudmaston Hall for our final visit of the trip. Again a lovely house with spectacular views from the drawing rooms over the lake. At this point it was time to say farewell to two cars from our midland section as we headed south to Hopton Wafers for a tea stop at the Crown Inn. It was here that we heard that Clive had broken down with charging problems and a flat battery, culminating in the need to be recovered to his home in Hereford (I feel another award coming on Clive) also Bernard had lost a wheel spat from his Vauxhall, luckily Barbara and I had spotted something on the side of the drive at Arley which turned out to be the missing panel. I’m told that John Wilks has been tasked with collecting it for Bernard.
I would like to thank Mary and Dave not only this weekend, but for all the others that they have organised over the years. The club has grown better for it and as one member was heard saying this is not a club it’s a family and I can’t think of a better way of saying thank you to Dave and Mary from the club.