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.
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.
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.
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.
At the May meeting we had a talk by Mike Ayland on the Wye Vally railway, which ran from Chepstow and followed the river Wye through Brockweir, Tintern, Llandogo and on to Monmouth. the train would then leave Monmouth and branch left heading north onto the Ross and Hereford section would follows the Wye to Symonds Yat to arrive at Ross-on-Wye and finally on to Hereford. Mike is working on a follow up presentation which connects Hereford through to Three Cocks Junction near Brecon, which will complete the original railway route.
The talk was very interesting not only from the railway point of view but because he had added lots of historical facts and stories which were relevant to the area, backed up by lots of photographs. Terry our events secretary had organised the speaker, but had forgotten that he would be on a trip to Pembroke with his Zodiac, given his interest in railways I think he may arrange for a private viewing at the speaker convenience, especially when I tell him how good the talk was. Our thanks go to Mike for a very informative talk and of course, Terry for arranging it for us.
This run, being our first of the season coincided as in the past with “Drive it day”.
For those of you new to all this old vehicle thing, “Drive it Day” is an annual event promoted by the “federation of historic vehicle clubs” to encourage people with older vehicles to bring them out onto the roads to use them or just show them off, in the hope that it will encourage or inspire more people to get involved with the old vehicle movement.
Starting from Chepstow the forty four members in a splendid assortment of twenty two cars set off over the old Severn bridge and onto the side roads and lanes to the coffee shop at Almondsbury Garden Centre. After suitable refreshments and some retail shopping for some, it was time to rejoin our cars and tour some more of the Severn side country lanes, enjoyed even more by the sunshine to arrive in Berkeley for our arranged meal at “The Malt House”. Suitably refuelled we set off to the afternoon visit to Newark Park on the Cotswold escarpment. Originally built as a hunting lodge it was extended several times to end up as it is now a typical country Manor House.
After wondering the gardens and the house it was time for a cup of tea and a chat with fellow members in the sunshine on the lawns of the house before returning to our vehicles.
Leaving Newark we traveled back along the ridge to enjoy the views eventually passing through Painswick and Gloucester and on to our home destinations.
The annual awards list got off to a good start, plenty of parking awards and navigational blunders were noted.
We hope that all those that attended the run enjoyed the day out and we look forward to seeing you and many of our other members on future runs this year.
Mr & Mrs Chair.
Once again the club Christmas lunch was at Bells hotel and country club and was supported by approximately sixty members and guests. Father christmas made his usual visit to pass out gifts for all who attended. It was also the 80th birthday of long standing member Bob Lewis. The chairman played a joke on the attended by asking them to look under the table cloths for the carols list that we would be singing. You can imagine the relief on their faces when it was revealed that we would be singing happy birthday to Bob instead.
Our thanks go to Bells for once again providing a great meal and efficient service, with a special thank you to our secretary Mary for organising the event.
Starting from Chepstow castle, a dozen or so club cars travelled over the Severn bridge and through beautiful country lanes to Thornbury garden centre for the coffee stop. I’m told one or two managed to get get lost, or as we call it follow their own route to Thornbury. Leaving the garden centre after some seasonal shopping and traveling through the south cotswold countryside passing Chavenage house to finally arriving at “The Bear of Rodborough” for lunch. After what was described as a truly excellent meal the cars and there occupants set off for the visit of the day at the Museum in the park, Stroud. The museum, has over 4000 objects on display. Of particular interest to some members were the first lawnmower and a 1929 motorbike and side car, which had drive to both the rear wheel of the bike and also the sidecar. Perhaps that’s where BMW got the idea from for there war time motorbike and sidecar units? Sadly by now the weather had turned to heavy rain so progress to the farewell drinks stop at Gloucester Docks was a little less enjoyable. A full report will be included in the club magazine, courtesy of our technical editor Mr Salmon.
The club enjoyed another fantastic day out courtesy of Bernard and Margaret Guest, who never fail in coming up with something special for us when asked.
As in past years our October meeting was the Harvest supper and raffle. After an excellent Ploughman’s lunch and plenty of friendly banter it was time for the “meeting tax”. Thanks to the generosity of those that attended the meeting the club raised £140 all of which will be added to the funds already collected for this years chosen charity.