John Bancroft, Hugh Adkins and Caroline Lucas report:
On a very pleasant Sunday morning (1st June) SDG members in eleven TRs, one Alfa and one very red Jaguar, assembled at Dungeness Station, to enjoy a trip on the 15” gauge Romney Hythe and Dymchurch Light Railway. Sitting two by two in very cosy carriages, pulled by the super one third scale steam loco, “Dr Syn”, we journeyed the 13.5 miles to Hythe, making a break at New Romney. Here, we visited the engine sheds, workshops and also the excellent model exhibition which had a large and impressive working model railway. Rejoining the train, we continued to Hythe where, after a short (or long) walk (depending on fitness) we enjoyed a super Fish and Chip lunch overlooking the sea. A big thank you to Glynn Boyd who did a superb job in planning and organising this splendid day which was thoroughly enjoyed by all.
Another good turnout for the now infamous 'Cannonball run'. Paul and Jenny took us through some lovely country lanes on a beautiful June evening, to our secret beach destination for fish and chips al fresco... and boy was it al fresco! Many thanks to them for organising this annual extravaganza.
Our thanks to Sean at The White Hart, Netherfield, for organising a scrumptious BBQ in celebration of Sussex Day. A lovely setting, looking out at typical Sussex countryside, appreciated by more than twenty SDG members.
Friday June 20th saw eight TRs depart for our annual continental foray travelling the Newhaven/Dieppe ferry route to France and onwards, via lovely rural (and smooth) roads, to Chartres which is located about fifty miles south west of Paris. Our ninth car had to miss the ferry, having discovered an expired passport the day before. They joined us later that evening at our hotel, following a very early start to get new passport in London and a drive via the channel tunnel.... 420 miles to our 150. Now that is dedication to the cause.
Chartres is famous for its cathedral, which is widely considered to be the best in France and is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites. The cathedral did not disappoint and we spent all of Saturday here, wandering around the markets, the old town, and along the river, lapping up (literally) the local café/bar culture. As it was the summer solstice, that evening we were treated to a very vibrant, and free, music festival with many varying styles being performed all around the town, and this was topped off with a sensational seasonal sound and light show projected onto the cathedral.
Sunday saw us driving along a section of the Loire valley, passing through beautiful villages and countryside, with the occasional chateau crossing our path. There seemed to be a recurring theme of TR6s with bonnets up every time we stopped, mainly with injector problems. Sadly, we had to return on Monday with two 6s limping on five cylinders, but we all made it home safely. A terrific trip and all spent under lovely sunny skies. A big thank you to George for organising this.
Coming events – see: http://www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for more details.
George Jackson, John Bancroft and Ian Squire report:
“It was great to see over 100 TRs from all of the South East assembled at Hever Castle on Drive It Day 2014. Many thanks to Mark Treadwell for initiating the day, and to Rod and his helpers in Kent Group for making the arrangements. Hever Castle and Gardens is a super location, with lots to keep visitors entertained, and its appeal was further enhanced by the magnificent array of TRs displayed in the beautiful parkland surrounding the moated castle. The weather was overcast and threatening, but the rain held off until after the assembled cars started their homeward journeys. South Downs Group was well represented with fourteen cars attending from all points of our catchment area and we were particularly pleased when Glynn Boyd’s beautiful TR3A was chosen as car of the day. This was a fitting award for Glynn who spends a lot of time on his car as well as actively contributing to SDG’s committee work.
A bright and sunny Sunday morning greeted day 2 of the 10th annual ‘Magnificent Motors’ show in Eastbourne, on the 4th May. The show is jointly organised by Eastbourne Borough Council, Eastbourne Historic Vehicle Club and East Sussex Omnibus Society. Fourteen SDG TRs joined historic and classic cars, motorcycles, scooters, buses, military and commercial vehicles, totalling in all some 400 exhibits. British motoring heritage was well represented with fine examples from the 20s through to the 70s. Worth a mention was an immaculate 1933 March Riley in British Racing Green - superb! However, the oldest exhibit was an 1897 Henriod, built in Switzerland. As the day progressed, the temperature increased and so did visitor numbers, reaching an estimated 30,000.
May club night at Chailey was due to be Best Presented round one, but this was rained off - such a shame as the following day was wall to wall sunshine. Oh well, at least we had the opportunity for a chat and a beer. A week later John B had organised a visit to Oldlands Mill in Hassocks. We congregated at the Thatched Inn, ordered our food for later, and then walked up to the mill. As we strode up the hill the Jill windmill (of the Jack and Jill pair) came into view on the South Downs, but no sign of Oldlands Mill. Near the top the mill appeared, partially surrounded by trees. Surely even some locals are unaware of this treasure hiding in their midst. Built in 1703, Oldlands Mill saw over two centuries of service before being abandoned in 1912. Restoration started in 1980. It took fifteen years to strip the mill to its bare bones and then it was rebuilt by hand, by skilled volunteers under the guidance of an experienced millwright. The mill is a reconstruction masterpiece, beautifully engineered and fully working, but mind your head as you tour around its confined interior. Thanks so much John for organising this visit, and the meal at the Inn.
Coming soon will be our second visit to Raystede Classic car show on the 6th July and the SDG summer BBQ on Sunday 20th July. See http://www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for more details.”
I know you've all been waiting to hear the results of the skittles match between Goodwood and South Downs which took place back in March. Well, without further ado, I can confirm that a fantastic day was had, the pizzas were superb and the pints slipped down nicely (passengers only). The car park was bathed in spring sunshine, which glinted off two new SDG TRs - Martin's new damson TR6 and Tony's dark green TR3 - as well as all the other TRs from the two groups. Well done to all who took part, and to the travelling supporters who spent most of their time enjoying the sunshine. Many thanks to GWTR for their sportsmanship and company. Oh, the result? South Downs successfully defended their title, winning both official matches and the unofficial fun match.
For a treat, on the 5th April Glynn had arranged a visit to CKL Developments, a brilliant company who specialise in Jaguar sports and race cars from the 50s and 60s: C-Types, D-Types, LWEs, E-Types & XKs, plus the occasional Lister, Ferrari and other exotica. The day started with a run from Battle to CKL, with a brief stop at a local garden centre to allow those not interested in wheeling machines, bending rolls and blue printed engines to spend a couple of hours in retail therapy. CKL did not disappoint. We were split into groups of 6 or 7 and guided around the facilities by knowledgeable and interesting employees who had come in specially to share their enthusiasm. Hand crafted aluminium panels created by a combination of engineering and artistry were a beautiful sight. There were more desirable cars than you could shake a stick at, as well as a showroom full of cars without price tags... if you had to ask, you probably could not afford! After the main event we adjourned to the Two Sawyers pub at Pett for an excellent lunch. Many thanks Glynn for arranging a most enjoyable day.
Club night at Chailey featured “Toad in the Hole” - not something you eat, but a traditional Sussex game. Who could throw the metal discs (toads) into the hole in the lead sheet and ring the bell? Well Hugh certainly could. He had obviously played the game once or twice before, and was always a popular choice as a team member.
On Tuesday 20th May we have a visit to Oldlands Mill, Sunday 1st June Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch railway trip, Tuesday 10th June Canonball Run, June 20th to 23rd Continental trip to Chartres. See www.southdowns-trs.org.uk for more details.