When the alarm went off at 6 o’clock I had mixed feelings. Excitement and anticipation at attending the first car show since way back when, together with the knowledge that my Good Lady Wife was not a morning person, indeed that could be the understatement of the century. However, both old girls (the wife Mandy and the car Olive) sprung into life without too much grumbling and we were on our way from Brixworth accompanied by the Northampton branch of the Sicilian clan of the Anzaloni Family in their pristine blue 500. We met up with Lianna and Richard briefly before executing a perfectly walkie-talkie choreographed convoy merge with Rod and Sally, Janet & Roger and Zoe in the shadow of Rockingham Castle before heading north towards Oakham.
Regrettably, Highways England and Network Rail had decided to close the main route for us and as the official diversion seemed to take us to the North Sea and back, Mandy speedily found an alternative rural route which took us through some wonderfully scenic Rutland countryside, but which was also an interesting challenge for us drivers with its serious undulations and switchbacks. Maintaining the convoy through the middle of Oakham we arrived at Rutland County Showground where we met up with Sean and Rachel.
This was the inaugural Classic Wheels Oakham event and the organisers clearly hadn’t anticipated the sheer volume of people who were desperate to make the most of the unusually good bank holiday weather and the opportunity to escape restrictions and enjoy themselves. The organisers did a pretty good job apart from the long queues to enter the site and the woeful lack of portaloos. When will event organisers understand that classic cars usually come with classic bladders?
Our seven classics looked a treat with Roger’s beautiful Neckar Weinsberg Coupe leading the line-up. However, the star of the show was Craig and Amy’s newly acquired 595 Abarth Competizione – a true modern day hairy chested Italian if ever there was one.
By now the sun was shining and sunscreen was being liberally applied and we were looking forward to spending a lazy day in the shade of the club gazebo. This was when the first signs of being a bit out of practice appeared, the good news was we had brought the gazebo, the bad news was that the poles and pegs were still sitting comfortably back home and so we broiled and bantered away, catching up with all the news and eagerly making up for lost time. The show had the usual stands and entertainment and hundreds of classics of all shapes and sizes from motorcycles to seriously heavy military vehicles to swoon over.
The time passed quickly as we caught up with gossip and then towards the end of the day, the show organiser appeared to announce that we had won the prize for The Best Club Stand! This was a bit of a surprise given that other clubs seemed to have far more cars than ours, but it must’ve been our little beauties – quality not quantity – together with our members’ magnetic personalities that clinched us the top spot. Chairman Rod duly went up to the stage to accept two kegs of the show sponsor’s ale together with a priceless Perspex trophy, yet another to add to our cabinet. I then thought it would be a nice idea to get a picture of the trophy with our very youngest member Oliver. He duly obliged and will clearly be a natural in front of the camera when he grows up, however, I hadn’t anticipated that he would then assume that the trophy was his new toy and parting him from it caused a minor tantrum! We then had to dispose of the two kegs of beer and decided that a ballot was the fairest method of distribution. However, as only Sean and Roger declared themselves beer drinkers it became an uncontested ballot!
With activities over for the day, and a variety of stripy sunburn now on display, we headed home and I’m pleased to say that the day was breakdown free apart from the odd misfire from Olive which I put down to the regularly temperamental electronic ignition.
So, a splendid opportunity to give the cars a run, to catch up with old friends, enjoy some summer weather and once again enjoy ourselves in a very good cause, happy days!