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.

Baston Bring a Car Night

Midlands Weekend

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.

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June Club night

Our meeting for this month centred on a talk from the “Severn Freewheelers”, which is an emergency voluntary service providing  a free out of hours service delivering blood, human tissue, medicine  and other essential medical items between NHS facilities in Hereford & Worcester, Gloucestershire and North Wiltshire. The idea first came about in 2007 through a group of motorbike riders in Stevenage wanting to help dispel the image of bikers as being a group of people generally acting in a negative way to society. The idea was taken up by other groups of riders across the country and now ten years later it covers all the UK and Southern Ireland as well.

The riders have to have an advanced riding qualification, annual skills check and undergo the emergency response training course just to qualify for duty. The service is on call 365 days of the year between 19:00hrs to 07:00hrs during the week and all day at weekends and public holidays. Each shift consists of a co-ordinator, three riders and a dispatcher. The dispatchers job is to receive calls and plan routes for the evening. Emergency calls are given priority and in these cases blue lights and siren would be in operation. Given that most of the teams members have day jobs and all are volunteers it’s certainly something that they should feel proud of and be recognised and rewarded for all their endeavours.

More information can be found on www.severnfreewheelers.co.uk

Our thanks go to Nigel, Derek and Holly for a most informative talk and wish them every success in the future, who knows one of us my be glad of their help one day.

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Robert (Bob) Lewis

It is with deep regret that I have to report the sudden death of long standing member Robert (Bob) Lewis, aged 80. Bob has been a member of this club for over twenty years and attended many runs and visits organised by the club over this period. I first encountered Bob when I started work at Watts of Lydney, Bob worked in the machine shop where he reconditioned cylinder heads for diesel and petrol engines. It was here that I was told that he had spent some time in Africa with his mother and father, Bob could speak some Swahili and could be heard saying “passé passé on many occasions.  Bob married Jenny Hale and soon started a family living in Lydney. Most of you will remember that Jenny became our events and minute secretary. I’m sure all of you will join the committee in sending our sincere condolences  to Jenny, Helen and Heather at this sad time.


May Run 2017

Our May run was organised by Chris Baston & Cliff Guest with help from Ann and Dorinda. Starting from Tesco store Gloucester in lovely sunshine it set the tone for the day. Traveling north towards Tewksbury, turning off the A38 towards Tredington and on to Beckford to arrive at the coffee stop at “The Star Inn”. As the entrance to the car park is quite steep one of our members had the misfortune to damage the exhaust (not what the lady wanted), After some investigation the decision to carry on was made, even if it was a little throatier than normal. Some of us took the opportunity to sample Bacon baps with our Tea or Coffee which I have to say were very good.

Setting off again one or two have added themselves to the trophies list (navigational blunders) for the next AGM, but again traveling in sunshine (why didn’t I bring the MG) we all enjoyed the good views as we wound our way through the lanes and highways to Evesham for the River trip and lunch on the boat. Parking in the gardens of the Northwick Hotel by the river, the Club cars made quite a statement and drew lots of the right attention. On our river cruise we were treated to a commentary by Diana who has a family history with the river and Evesham in general going back many generations. Telling tales of what she did in her childhood days and the adventures of the family.

Arriving back at the Northwick gardens it was time set off for home, again in glorious sunshine following the “Blossom Trail”, Ann and Dorinda kept apologising for the lack of blossom on the trees, which had been in full bloom just a week or so previous, but the views and the weather more than made up for any disappointment. The final stop of the day for tea at the farm shop in Wickhamford proved very  popular, especially with one member who spotted a pod trailer that was possibly for sale. Well it may go some way towards making him feel better, as earlier in the day a brick had come off a passing lorry and cracked his windscreen! Some would say he was lucky, if it had been another 3 inches higher up the brick would have hit the driver not the screen. Anyway all in all a great day out planned by a group of people that up until Sunday were route planning virgins. Well done, you have proved that you can do a great job and you should be congratulated. Excellent.

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