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‘Pre’ Christmas Meal – The Lord Nelson, Marshfield – 30th November 2014

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‘Pre’ Christmas Meal – The Lord Nelson, Marshfield – 30th November 2014

The consensus this year was to have a ‘pre’ Christmas meal so the task was to find somewhere as central to all as possible and we came up with The Lord Nelson due to its location and good menu.

There was a good amount of interest and all was booked up.

On the day there was an issue as the organiser was ‘quarantined’ (so to speak) due to having shingles and was therefore not able to attend and there was also one ‘no-show’ due to work commitments but a good turnout all the same.

Crackers had been made up for all with various festive sweets, car air freshener and a scratch card which saw a few winning some cash prizes.

With menu choices made the food came out quickly and was very good along with the company and conversations.  A few laughs were had which made for a very pleasant meal.

Mini World Action Day Castle Combe – 27th September 2014

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Mini World Action Day Castle Combe – 27th September 2014

The ever popular Mini World Action Day this year did not disappoint.  As always, the sun was shining for this event as were the cars.  For those of you who aren't aware of the day, this isn't just an opportunity to Show off your care, it is also an opportunity to take it around the track.  It is a very well organised event as it combines Castle Combe Race Circuit with Mini World Magazine.

As we arrived there were a number of hot air balloons taking to the skies from the middle of the track although a few of them were struggling due to the lack of wind blowing.  I am not sure if this was a planned event for the show but a first for me to see here.

There were hundreds of Minis to admire from clubs all around the country, plus a huge amount of Mini Specialist Trade Stands and the very popular auto jumble for those who wanted to grab a bargain.

Although many like to take their beloved Mini round the track for a 5 lap (run what you brung style) race, for those of you who can't bear the thought of scratching it (or denting it), you could take the car round on the parade lap which is good fun and quite often enjoyed not only by the drivers, but by the passengers and children whom would not normally get this opportunity.

The club had a great turnout with club members thoroughly enjoying the day and gave a great chance for an updated club members cars photograph and also the chance to have a great catch up with old friends from other mini clubs.

The array of cars at the event this year was great from Rat Look to Immaculate Show Winners, small engines to insane conversions!!  It's a great opportunity to look at what others have done to gain ideas for your own car and perhaps pass your ideas onto others.

Like all Castle Combe events throughout the year, the Mini World Action Day offers great value for money for all of the family, with something for everyone from racing model minis around a Grand Prix style track for the children (and the big children otherwise known as adults) to simply looking at hundreds of minis or relaxing around the track, enjoying an ice-cream whilst watching people drive flat out.

Jurassic Mouth 2 Mouth Run – 7th September 2014

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Jurassic Mouth 2 Mouth Run – 7th September 2014

This was a charity mini run in aid of the RNLI from Weymouth to Exmouth organised by Jurassic Coast Mini Owners Club.

This was the first year I have attended this event, as a club we had planned to make a weekend of this and have an evening in Weymouth on the Saturday prior to the run on the Sunday however due to other commitments this was unfortunately not possible this year.

An early start Sunday morning leaving Royal Wootton Bassett at 6.15am to pick Dawn up on route.  We arrived at the start point at Weymouth pavilion where we met up with Len.  We signed on to the run and headed off for breakfast.  On our return to the Pavilion getting on for 100 minis had assembled.

At 10am the run was waved off by the Mayor of Weymouth, we then headed out across Chesil to Portland Bill for a quick photo shot and then on along the Dorset coast to the mid run break at the Sidmouth Donkey sanctuary where the number of minis on the run appeared to have increased significantly.

After a short break (and very large ice creams) the run headed on to its final destination of Exmouth life boat station for a BBQ and charity raffle where I won a crate of beer (result!!)

This was an excellent, well organised run with a good mixture of twisting roads and easier sections so the minis didn’t become bunched up.  Hopefully next year we will have more club members in attendance and make a weekend of it.

9th Blenheim Palace Festival of Transport -24th – 25th August 2014

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9th Blenheim Palace Festival of Transport -24th – 25th August 2014

So with North Devon ‘The Legendary Grand Tour’ being cancelled this year we all had a bit of a hole in the calendar for the Bank Holiday weekend at the end of August.  We all scratched our heads and thought what we could do instead then I saw online that there was a show on at Blenheim Palace.  I put a text message out to club members to see who was about and interested.  We thought we would make a weekend of it and go on the Saturday and come back on the Monday as they had camping over the weekend.

It turned out that there were only 2 people that were available to go on the Saturday and camp so we organised to get up early and go to the show on the Sunday and camp that night and travel back after the show on Monday.

This was to be a two day event with the emphasis on the Sunday being on Classic Cars with some really rare and exotic machinery on show and then a wider scope on the Monday with a more general show to include Classic Cars, Bikes, Mini's, VW's, Kit & Custom Cars, Americans, commercial & military vehicles.

After our mosey around the show we went back to the camping area, I will not call it ‘camp site’ as we were pitched at the edge of a field with no water facilities and no toilets (unless you class trees as suitable!!!)

After a cuppa and a natter we fired up the BBQ and by this time we thought we deserved a drink or two!!!  After food and a few pints Dawn and Rich C departed home and we thought we would take a walk in to Woodstock as the music festival was on.  When we finally found our way out of the palace grounds we got to the village and in the square was live bands playing and a lot of people!!!  We found a pub and we battled our way to the bar and finally got a pint and then we made our way outside to enjoy the music.  The music ended at around 10.15pm and we found our way back to the palace and the camping area where we enjoyed a few more drinks and then to bed.

Monday, well what can I say about Monday?!!  Some would say the typical bank holiday weather.  We woke to the sound of very heavy rain, eventually we were all brave enough to leave the shelter of our tents and congregated in the gazebo where we remained most of the day, having breakfast a copious amounts of tea and coffee oh and breakfast on the BBQ.  There was no sign of the rain easing so at about 1.30pm we were brave (ish) again and we got the tents and the gazebo down, in record times, and made our way back home to a warm, dry environment.

Despite being washed out on the Monday the Sunday was good and it was a pleasant surprise to be able to go to the music festival in Woodstock.

The sun was shining when we arrived, we pitched up camp and then went to have a wander.  A good selection of classic cars on club stands and individual classic car entries from the 1920's to the 1990's.  A fine turn out on the TVR stand and some very nice cars there indeed.  There was a good turn out for the minis too even though the emphasis on the minis was not until the Sunday.  There was also a selection of traders and autojumble sellers.

International Mini Meet – Mini 55 – Kent County Showground, Maidstone 31st July – 3rd August 2014

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International Mini Meet – Mini 55 – Kent County Showground, Maidstone 31st July – 3rd August 2014

This was the main event of the mini calendar 2014.  Every 5 years the IMM returns to England, this year responsibility for organising the event fell to the Southern Mini Owners Club who had won the vote to host the 2014 show at the 2011 IMM in St Switzerland.

Thursday 31st July 2014:  Dawn, Rachel and I left Wootton Bassett at lunchtime with the plan to arrive at the showground around 3pm, pitch the tent and then go for essential supplies (alcohol!!).  The 3 minis behaved perfectly on the trip there and the M25 was surprisingly clear.  We arrived at the site to find a holding field full of minis waiting to enter the show.  It took us 3 ¼ hours to gain entry to the site so by now the beer run plan was off and patience was some what tested (thanks to Rachel for saving the day with a supply of 6X).

Having finally got on to the site cars were abandoned on the camping pitch and a first visit to the site pub ‘The Rusty Subframe’ was made for a much needed drink and then to sort a ticket for Dawn for Friday’s brewery tour.

The tent was then pitched after much swearing (ground was full of rocks) and we finally got some food from one of the vans (not cheap but no other choice at 9.30pm.  We were soon joined by Carenza and Johnny and IMM friends Steven, Robert and Jackie for a social evening and a few drinks.

Friday 1st August 2014:  An early start, bacon rolls (from a food vendor as still no food run complete!!) and then caught the coach for a trip to Faversham for a tour of the shepherd Neame brewery and lunch.  We spent the afternoon in town and then back to the site, a trip out to Tesco (to finally get some provisions) and then back to the site for an evening BBQ (first outing for the new club BBQ) and more drinks.

The club presidents meeting took place during the morning and it was later announced that mini club Belgium had won the vote to host IMM 2016 (A welcome short trip following next years long haul to Lithuania)

Saturday 2nd August 2014:  We spent the day on site, spending in the vast trade village, a few trips to ‘The Rusty Subframe’.  A visit to the ‘Mini People Lithuania’ club stand to collect information for IMM 2015 and a photo opportunity with Paddy Hopkirk and a signature on our IMM mini models.

IMM meal was held in the evening (yet another long queue, an hour plus) before the evening IMM party and more drinks at the campsite.

Queues aside, a very enjoyable and well organised event, many thanks to the Southern Mini Owners Club (IMM2015 May 21st – 25th – Lake Zarasas, Lithuania).

Sunday 3rd August 2014:  Having already picked up all the parts we need at the trade stands it was decided we would forgo the planned IMM breakfast (none of us could be doing with yet another queue) and take a run off site for a pub lunch and an afternoon tour of Chislehurst caves before returning to Maidstone for the IMM closing ceremony and the traditional handing over of the IMM key to next years hosts, this followed by another BBQ and of course some drinking!!

Club BBQ and Social – 20th July 2014

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Club BBQ and Social – 20th July 2014

Well what can we say?  The weather running up to the BBQ left a lot to be desired, we were even having talks of it becoming an ‘in-door-b-q’.  The Saturday, well rain is an understatement, it was monsoon weather but not just a short sharp burst, and thunder storms.  I trundled over to my mums, slowly due to the rain, to make cakes as it was close to the clubs birthday.  Finally at about 3pm the rain stopped and the sun tried to come out.  We all had our fingers crossed that that was it for the weekend and we would have a dry day on the Sunday.

Sunday arrived and the sun was shining, thank goodness, so we packed the car with the cakes and our meat for the BBQ and off to Dawns to help to set up before the rest of the ‘rabble’ arrived.

A great turn out and nice to have whole families there, the kids running around the garden whilst the grown ups of us chatted and ate, yes I have to mention it as food and Nick always go together!!!  He ate 4 burgers in rolls (without the salad stuff – too healthy)!!!

After the BBQ we had some cakes and again Nick – he had 2!!!

Then we tidied away and people departed all full and content, when it began to rain, at least it held off until we were driving home and even then it didn’t come to much, not like the day before.

Many thanks to Dawn for being our hostess for another year.

Next year Rich and Seb have offered their home and services.

Atwell Wilson Motor Museum Annual Classic Vehicle Show – 13th July 2014

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Atwell Wilson Motor Museum Annual Classic Vehicle Show – 13th July 2014

There was a special feature this year being "80 years of the Morris 8". 

The show proves to be a very popular local Classic Car Show and draws people in from far and wide, those who love to show off their classic car and those who simply wish to look at classic cars of days gone by.  Of course, there is also the added benefit of the Motor Museum which is included in the entry fee and displays some beautiful classic cars including the 9X Prototype Mini based car and an ERA Turbo Mini.

The show which is set in the grounds of the Atwell Motor Museum in Calne, welcomes those who have a keen eye for classic vehicles but also those with families.  With various competitions throughout the day, trade stalls, food and beverage stalls, an auto jumble and even a play park, there is something for everyone!

There was a vast selection of vehicles on the day from the Morris 8's to classic Fire Engines, Tractors and of course Mini's and everything in between.  Everyone who attended had the opportunity to vote for their favourite classic car of the day.

This year there was a strong turn out of Minis from several local mini clubs which was nice to see and a chance to catch up with some old friends.  The show was attended by 6 club members and their cars plus we had the opportunity to put up our gazebo so that we could relax in the grounds whilst people admired our cars.

BMC and Leyland Show, Gaydon Motor Museum – 6th July 2014

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BMC and Leyland Show, Gaydon Motor Museum – 6th July 2014

For the second year visitors celebrated a host of British cars when the Heritage Motor Centre, Gaydon hosted the nostalgic ‘BMC & Leyland Show’. The show was launched in 2013 to celebrate the fantastic marques that were part of the pre BMC related manufacturers, The British Motor Corporation, British Leyland, and the Rover group as well as commercial and military vehicles.

The show attracted 80 different marques including names such as Daimler, Alvis, Wolseley, Austin, Morris, Riley, Standard, MG and Land Rover. This year marked the 50th Anniversary of the Austin Morris 1800 and up to 40 plus models were on display.  This year also marked the 30th Anniversary of the Austin Montego and visitors were given the chance to see the last Montego that came off the production line on display within the Museum.

As well as up to 800 models on show, there was also an Autojumble and motoring related trade stands. A show highlight was to see 6 different vehicles from the reserve collection that are not normally on display in the Museum. The show also featured the traditional Mini Concours with a £100 cash prize for the winner. Plus there was the traditional Cowley convoy from BMW Mini Cowley to the museum.

The show was a real enthusiast’s event aimed at enthusiasts celebrating the iconic British marques. The show had something for everyone and for many; it was a great trip down memory lane!!

Bowling and ‘Food’ – 29th June 2014

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Bowling and ‘Food’ – 29th June 2014

Finally after 3 attempts of trying to ‘pin’ people down to find a date for a bowling ‘social’ event we met at the end of June.  It was decided we would have 2 games of bowling at Bowlplex, Longwell Green but I had a lot of deliberation about where to book to eat that was affordable and good value for money, Frankie and Bennies and Nandos was ruled out and I decided that a local (ish) pub to the Bowlpex was the best find.

Unfortunately Dawn got held up on her holidays and Len turned up a week early!!!!  But we didn’t have a bad turn out with 4 of us bowling and 6 of us for food.

We met at the Bowlplex, and had 2 games of bowling where I must say I was not on a ‘roll’ but I blamed it on my shoulder problems, which of course it was!!!  Oh and Nick went sliding down the alley!!!  Then once the 2 games were up we all started to get ourselves sorted to go and get some food and the computer started up another game, Gremlins in the system??!!!  But someone soon realised and after a few minutes the computer then said ‘no’!!!

After the bowling we jumped in the cars and trundled off to The Star Inn, Pucklechurch where we had a very nice and great value for money roast dinner, lots of chat in a good atmosphere.

A couple of people had dessert (including Nick, of course) then we went our separate ways, homeward bound.  On the way home a couple of us had some issues, Nick’s car seat (where he had too much cake!!!!) collapsed and I ran out of fuel a couple of miles from home (and the petrol station).  I should have filled up before going but I was running late so thought ‘I’ll be ok’, how wrong was I!!!  Luckily a friend came to my rescue and picked me up, took me to the petrol station and then back to put the well needed fuel in my car!!

Apart from the homeward bound issues and the absentees a good day was had by all.

Lydiard Park Classic Car Show – 21st June 2014

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Lydiard Park Classic Car Show – 21st June 2014

A new event for this year organised by Swindon Borough Council.  I only discovered this event by seeing an advert in the local paper a couple of weeks prior to the show as had most of the other owners.

This show was free to enter and attracted about forty classics ranging from Austin Seven’s through to modern Aston Martins.

Cars were displayed on the lawns at the front of the house and attracted much interest from the public using the park and visiting the house.

The event pass also included entry to the state rooms of Lydiard House, the ancestral home of the viscounts Bolingbroke.

The organisers plan to make this an annual event and build it up over the next few years.