Rachel, Steve, Nick, Dawn, Paul, Jean, Len, Carenza, Dave, Alix, Michael and Bryony – together with guests from Mini Fixers (and a couple of well-behaved dogs) – all pitched up over the course of what turned out to be a really enjoyable couple of days.
We arrived early on the Saturday morning and quickly erected the club stand and both gazebos.
This immediately prompted the most torrential thunder storm we had witnessed since the Lydiard Park event a week or so previous. For minis / Elf’s that don’t like to get wet, it hasn’t been a fortunate couple of events! However, safe and dry underneath, we waited it out with tea and many bacon rolls until the sun re-appeared about an hour later and decided to stay, at which point we quickly dried the cars and watched the whole site come to life.
Now in its 43rd year, the show attracts thousands of visitors and enthusiasts from all over the country, displaying modes of transport ranging from bicycles and scooters, to traction engines and tanks. Truly something for everyone.
Our minis sat perfectly amongst the myriad of classic vehicles on show, and, as always, received warm support from the public. We spent many hours happily chatting to people who fondly remembered when the ‘mini was my first car’.
This really is a huge event and you do need two days to take it all in properly. But what a lot to see! There were vintage fairground attractions such as carousels and travelling pipe organs, and numerous hobby stalls and trade stands where you could buy anything from a hideous piece of taxidermy, to a beautifully preserved Wolseley 1300. One of those items was purchased by a club member, but we won’t divulge which!
Hundreds of classic marques were on show and, after more bacon rolls, we had a wonderful time nosing around the rows of Fords, Plymouths, Cadillacs, Austins, Singers, MGs, Triumphs and countless others; meeting the owners and hearing their stories, before enjoying a beer or two whilst watching a rather mesmerising display of vintage tractors criss-crossing the arena.
The site, as always, was clean, impeccably maintained and, despite the heavy rain on the Saturday, completely mud-free. The benefit of this event is that nothing compacts a sodden bog into a useable road quite like a 100 year old steam roller! The only slight disappointment was returning to our pitch on the Sunday to find that some helpful sod had decided to steal one of the gazebo’s feet overnight. Very irritating but, being the optimistic bunch we are – and after a few more bacon rolls – we just appreciated that they only took the one, and remained silently stoic about our unrecognised donation to some another disabled, less fortunate gazebo than ours.
After watching the magnificent procession of vehicles making their way into the arena for the final Sunday display, some of us joined the queue to leave, and some of us went to find chips. It didn’t really matter what time we left, we all got caught. Being stuck in a traffic jam can be unpleasant, but when it’s a summer’s evening traffic jam made up of Minis and every other classic under the sun, it’s something you just have to sit back and enjoy. And enjoy it we did!
In all, a wonderful weekend. Roll on next year!