International Mini Meet (IMM), Easter Compton, Bristol – Thursday 8th – Monday 12th August 2019
People had started queuing at about 9.00am on the Thursday morning and as the traffic backed up along the road the police insisted that the show, organized by Gert Lush minis opened.
I arrived at about 11.00am and joined several columns of minis queuing to get in to the site, Washingpool Farm, North of Bristol – it was well sign-posted. I was in the chosen field by 1.30pm, we camped far away from all the noise but this did mean a long trek to the action.
Some people gave up trying to get in on Thursday night and camped in the holding field!!! At least there was a toilet!!!
On the way in we received our goody bags which were quite good, they contained a pen, bottle opener (although we had been told not to bring anything in glass!!!), discount vouchers, a mug, a beer mat, a t-shirt – and other good bits and pieces.
It stayed dry long enough for all of our group to put our tents up – phew!!! I hadn't re-proofed mine for a long time so gave it a good spray with Fabsil as rain was expected. Sadly, for once, the weather forecast was correct.
Yes, there was an awful lot of rain and the fields became very muddy. I tried to stop Herby letting in water by covering him up but ended up with scratches from the cover being blown around by the howling wind, more of that later.
On Friday we looked around and each day I helped sell raffle tickets for a bit for the mini for the Atwell Wilson Motor Museum.
In the main arena they were printing free t-shirts I joined the queue and two hours later I reached the front the t-shirt was printed in front of me, there was just one person printing hence the really long queue!!!! In the queue we compared the waterproofness or not of our clothes.
On Saturday I took one of the complimentary classic buses to the Mall for a look around and to shelter from the rain.
Somerford Minis were doing a service where we could place an order and they would get it for the next day.
Lots of people did lots of shopping whilst some queued up to meet Paddy Hopkirk and other famous Mini racing drivers. There was a good variety of stalls but not as many as I remembered at other IMMs.
We had vouchers for food, I had a veggie thing on the Saturday and breakfast in the farm shop cafe Sunday morning which was quite good value and only 40 minutes' queuing. There were two Mini ice cream vans which were beautiful but only one was selling ice creams. There were Mini barbeques, bars etc.
The memorabilia tent had a good variety of things, some quite expensive but some of us picked up bargain hoodies and vests at Castle Combe. Sadly, the poor weather had put enough people off that they had far too much stock.
There were adequate toilets but shower facilities were miles away, Rachel was lucky as she only lived about 10 minutes away so went home for a shower and a restock of food and drink!!!
Two of our club members got fed up and left on Saturday morning. Personally, I had my wellies, mac and brolly and wasn't too bothered by the rain. Also, my tent did keel over a bit at one point as the ground was so soft, the pegs pulled out, but it did stay dry inside, except where the toe of my sleeping back touched it.
Strong winds forced traders to close for a few hours on the Saturday and lots of tents and gazebos, including our club one, did not survive the winds and took themselves off for a little tour of the fields!!! There were “dead Bodies” everywhere and some were picking over them to see if there were any good bits to repair the less-damaged ones.
Evenings were spent in the gazebo to start with chatting, eating and drinking (of course!!), then in people's larger tents. Nick's got a few comments being from about the 1970’s and house-shaped. There were a few others like it and as usual, none like mine and as usual no Neon’s with original livery. I had a few chats with fellow cabriolet owners and a couple of owners are experimenting with 3D printing to try to reproduce those elusive little plastic bits around the windows.
On Friday night there was the glow show with lots of trickery but only one attempted at celebrating mini's 60th birthday.
On Saturday night there was a showing of the short film competition, all featuring minis of course, fancy dress and music.
One of the highlights took place on Sunday afternoon where Minisport had managed to collect a dozen men famous for their involvement in mini development and racing. Judging by the walking sticks and hearing aids, we will be unlikely to see so many of them together in 5 years’ time. There were introductions, interviews and interesting questions and answers.
Some of us survived until official close down on Monday morning and managed to get hold of some left-over meal token key rings as they were rather nice. The Germans were doing good business selling tickets for 2020 IMM in Bavaria.
At one point, a dormobile towing a mini on a trailer was stuck in the mud. A very “raised up” mini managed to tow them out – it is only supposed to be capable of pulling one tonne but pulled four!!! This was much photographed and filmed.
The worst aspect of the show for me was not the weather, it was the ridiculously long waiting times and lack of birthday celebrations. I still enjoyed it a lot and I am still wearing my wrist band over three months later so it must have been well-made!!!