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Noggin At The New Inn Blagdon 13th July 2016

The sunshine encouraged fourteen Morgans to descend upon the New Inn at Blagdon. All thirty seven Morganeers enjoyed the usual excellent fayre.

 

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Mendip Centre Newsletter Number – 134 July 2016

Editorial

Welcome to the summer newsletter which is also Mendip’s 22nd Birthday edition. Quite a lot has been happening since the previous issue as you will see while navigating through these pages.

We have had very successful get-togethers at The Holcombe Inn, Castle of Comfort, Natterjack Inn, Hartley’s Bistro and The Swan. Special events have included Clive & Nat’s “Drive-it Day” to Swindon Railway Museum and also Don & Di’s visit to Wyke Farm Cheesery to inspect their impressively green credentials. Some of us also made a soggy run down to Burton Bradstock for FossilMOG’s annual picnic (thanks to Graham & Kim) and then finally there was the annual Tinney Tour courtesy of Henry & Joy and of course, John Rob for co-ordination.

Mendip’s 22nd Birthday Party ably and expertly organised by Paul & Jane, featured the beautiful cake which you may have noticed in place of our usual logo, on the front cover. Also included of course, were the annual awards with congratulations to Henry & Joy for greatest mileage, Mike & Angela for most attendances in a MOG and to Jane for becoming the custodian of the Mendip Stones, following her ’performance’ at the Minnack theatre last year. On the latter award, we are always on the lookout for next year and indeed the list has already been started! (page 18 for instance??) Congratulations also on page 15 to the annual photo competition winners: Jane, Mark and Kim and above all many thanks to all of you who entered and voted.

Some members have also travelled far and wide and I am particularly grateful to Terry & Babs who submitted very interesting articles on their first trip to France in their ‘new’ +4 to the Circuit Historique at Laon with the MSCC Travel Club, (where they met up with Clive & Annette) and also their annual visit to the Wicked Welsh.

Margaret and I decided to try out the Loire Valley, enjoying a very comfortable stay at a gite ’La Charpenterie” owned by Rodger and Margaret John, who regularly advertise in Miscellany. Paul & Jane have been off Morganeering for about 3 weeks in Spain and the Dordogne and I hear that David & Linda M. are to embark on a lengthy trip across Europe this year which may at last, be a competitor for the elusive Tinney Trophy award next year for most miles travelled on one expedition.

Have a great summer, if it ever materialises!

Doug

 

Noggin at The Holcombe Inn: 20th April

This new location  recommended by David & Linda P. did not disappoint. Set in the countryside at Holcombe just off the A367, it boasts a large restaurant area, good food (Megrim Sole was an extremely good catch for many) and very efficient staff. Eleven MOGs adorned the car park supported by 5 tintops, accompanied by 30 Mendip Morganeers.

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We were particularly delighted to welcome a recently new member Philip Lamb who hails from Portishead. An ex-Harley man, he has yet to purchase his MOG and is at present gathering information before making his choice. I hear that a test drive at Williams is in the offing. We wish him well in his hunt and look forward to seeing more of him and Christina at future events.

 

Amazing what you come across on a fine spring evening in the countryside...this beast, rarely seen in our parts, growled its way into the car park….

Amazing what you come across on a fine spring evening in the countryside…this beast, rarely seen in our parts, growled its way into the car park….

 

National Drive-it Day: Swindon Railway Museum

For Mendip to celebrate national “drive-it” day on Sunday 24th April, Clive & Nat took to the foot-plate. Last year it was the White Horse run around Wiltshire whereas this time, it was a trip to the Swindon Railway Museum, on the site where once 14,000 people worked.

Maybe it’s only us, but just as last year, we saw very few classic cars on our journey. Over 60 miles to get there and we saw just one MkII Cortina; on the way home, three A35s and a Morris Minor!

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Thankfully, we had a dry run, tops down and arrived in good time to meet up with the rest of the group of just 14, comprising only 5 MOGs, an MGB and a tin-top conveying 9 Mendip Morganeers, 3 friends of Mike Pa and 2 American  friends of Clive & Nat.

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Following refreshments, we were given an introductory guided tour for about ¾ of an hour and were then free to come and go as we pleased. The tour was very informative and wetted he appetite to see more. Some beautiful engines on display: City of Truro, Ditcheat Manor; Caerphilly Castle and King George V, which one could inspect from underneath by virtue of access to (the very clean & well lit) inspection pit.

All this was complemented by station and signal box set-ups and lots of interesting information along the way, including a carriage skeleton frame made of…yes, ash, as all good coach-builders & MOG creators   use.

Moving outside, there was a large group of Austin Healeys but secreted amongst them. a M3W (EVIIMOG) which we saw at Williams the week before. Lots of thanks to Clive & Nat for organising the day.

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Sunday Lunch at The Castle of Comfort  & onwards to Wells: Sun 8th May

This was an outing squeezed into the events calendar as soon as we became aware of the annual Mendip Classic Tour taking place and terminating on Cathedral Green at Wells. The tour, open to up to 150 pre-1995 vehicles, kicked off this year at Farringtons Café (familiar to those who came on this year’s Trusty Trip). The tour took them across to Yeovilton for lunch and then finished up after some 85 miles at Wells. Funds were raised in the process for the S & D Air Ambulance.

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Despite the relatively short notice, we still managed 19 souls in 9 MOGs and a tin-top Mini (Paul’s +8 being in for mass air flow sensor and major exhaust surgery). A lovely sunny day enabled a good chat outside for half an hour or so, taking in the rural ambience.

The Castle of Comfort has changed hands a few times but everyone seemed to enjoy their meals with plenty of veg and service with a smile. Quite refreshing also, to see a good selection of desserts at just £4 a hit.

Fed and watered, we headed off on a lovely little run across Stockhill and on down into Wells. As usual lots of fine machines on display set against the magnificent backdrop of the Cathedral. Only one Morgan amongst them and it wasn’t one of ours!

A lovely surprise to come across Mendip members Chris & Gerald, who had entered Chris’s Citroen Dolly, seen here gleaming in the afternoon sun. As well as yours truly, we are accompanied by Tazia, their extremely good natured, large and hairy Italian Spinone gun dog.

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All in all, a lovely day out with the weather behaving itself for a change.

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The Natterjack & Wyke Farms Cheesery: Weds 11th May

Not a Noggin nor Sunday Lunch but an E.V.A.* on a Wednesday lunchtime for a change, followed up by a very interesting visit to Wyke Farms, kindly organised by Donald & Di.

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First of all, following a night of rain, the sun welcomed 20 members who turned up for lunch accompanied by just 5 MOGs. We were delighted to see one of our founder members Dudley (now a Wessex member), who is currently recovering from a hip replacement. He still managed to bring along his Plus 4 which is probably the best therapy to help anyone recover from anything!

Lunches were attractive and well presented; downside reported by several, being skimpy chicken in the salads, made up for with too much bacon! Predictably, they also messed up on the accounting at the end despite being given a detailed spreadsheet in advance and advised more than once to make use of it! It just makes for a lot more needless work for Paul & Jane into whose lap the ball so often falls!

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Anyway, it was soon onward to Wyke Farm, just down the road. Now, I think it fair to say that we have all known from an early age that the moon is made from green cheese, but not many know where that green cheese comes from. We now have the answer! Wyke Champflower in Somerset! It doesn’t get greener than this…100% Green.

Wyke Farm is proud to boast a 100% green credential in it’s cheese making operation and it was that green bit which we came to see.

Prior to the technicalities, we learned that although the Clothier family have been making cheese for well over 150 years, that core business has now grown substantially from what “Grandmother Ivy” would have known. Despite a workforce of 220, it’s still family owned and operated. With capacity to produce 15,000 tonnes per annum, the required 300 million litres of milk comes from their own herd of 1000 cows plus more from other local farms. The cheese is matured and packed at a separate facility over at Wincanton. They export to 160 countries and are renowned in the U.S for instance, as being the best Cheddar on the market. On top of that, they even do the yogurt bases for Yeo Valley.

Now it takes a lot of energy and water to produce cheese and this is where a massive investment of a million pounds or so, steps in to do the job self-sufficiently. Wyke are the first UK dairy to be awarded the Carbon Trust Triple Crown and were awarded “Sustainable Business of the Year” in 2014 and 2015. So, how is it done?

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As you approach the yard you can’t miss the three huge circular tanks making up the anaerobic digesters (A.D.s). These are fed with a mixture of cow dung from the herd, chopped maize, spent apple pulp from the cider industry, rape straw and the toppings from the silage pit, to mention but a few otherwise “useless” ingredients. They then undergo a natural breakdown in the tanks to form a gaseous mixture of methane and carbon dioxide with the residue being an odourless, pasteurised highly efficient NPK fertilizer that can be spread on the land to grow the grass… to feed the cows…who make the milk and pass the dung…

Personally, I always understood that these A.D. systems were used solely to generate electricity, but that’s not the only outlet for the product. They actually pump some of their gas back into the gas grid. However, this needs to be only the clean methane bit and has to have the same calorific value as the mains gas.

The gas is first cleaned up and then filtered through special membranes (molecular sieves) at a pressure of some 14 bar (about 200psi) and the type of membranes used separate out the carbon dioxide from the methane (all to do with the differing size of the molecules of the two gases). The calorific value of the methane is about 36, so to get it up to the 39.2 that you will see on your gas bill, they add some propane from a Calor gas storage tank kept on site, before sending it on its way.

On the electrical side, they had two huge V12 engines running 500kW combined heat and power installations (CHP), where the electricity is used on site for cheese making, running the green energy plant and exporting to the grid. The heat from the engines is also recovered and used to keep the digesters at a constant temperature. Nothing lost!

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Add to all this a 90% water recovery, solar panels, even a robotic solar powered lawn mower busying away unattended plus 3 Nissan Leaf electric vehicles for local deliveries, their ethos is plain to see.

I wonder what would Granny Ivy have to say if she saw all this?

(Possibly just a cheesy grin?)

Doug

 

Mendip Centre is 22 years old

One of our favourite haunts from past times, The George at Nunney was the location this year for Mendip Centre’s 22nd birthday party. The evening was a resounding success enjoyed by 34 members with 6 MOGs standing by outside.

We were particularly delighted to welcome Graham & founder member Kim, who had taken time away from running FossilMOG and made the long journey up from Sidmouth to share in our celebrations. Also Terry & Babs who managed to drop in on their way back from their run to the Laon Historique in France.

The attractive dining area suited our numbers just right, and the place names complete with annotated menu choices obviated any need for head scratching. We were soon tucking into an excellent 3 course dinner, elegantly presented with plenty of vegetables and which seemed to be enjoyed by all those present. With coffee, we finished off with a super 22nd birthday cake (as pictured on the front page)

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It was then time for the formal presentations as Sue took to the floor. First of all, a well deserved vote of thanks to Paul & Jane for organising the event was met with rapturous applause. We then moved on to the annual awards, with last year’s winner announcing this year’s lucky recipients. Were we surprised to hear that Henry & Joy once more romped off with the Trophy for the greatest mileage in a single trip? (this time, 2279,. Mike & Angela regained the Triple M from Mike Pa. for the most attendances in a Morgan, with a score of 27.

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With the usual ‘shaking in the boots’, we then came to the contenders for the Mendip Stones (or Potatoes), where Jane took to the floor to give us the dramatic run down on last years worthy contenders.

We heard of the couple who got stuck in a glass lift at Buckfast Abbey, the experience being exacerbated when the lady uttered those immortal words “ I could do with the loo, right now”! Another loving couple where the co-driver forgot to bring the G&T, of all things, to the annual BBQ much to the unhidden chagrin of the driver! Then there was the visit to Spain where one of our male members, (shock/horror), made reference to two dumb blondes that he had espied, pouring fat on the fire with “Well all blondes are dumb, aren’t they”? (Ouch!) And then there was the story of the confusion caused when Clive left his phone… or was it his GPS… on top of his tonneau at the Minnack. BUT THEN, up stepped Clive himself to recall even more mishaps at last year’s jaunt down to the Minnack theatre, where Jane, inadvertently took to the stage in order to get a better angle for her photographs and had to be politely removed by security in order for the performance to commence. For this reason, to uproarious applause, she became the custodian of the Mendip Stones for the coming year.

Celebrations and good wishes were not yet over as following Mendip tradition, we like to highlight the occasion whenever a birthday falls on the same day as an event. In this case, it was Jane in the limelight again as Sue presented her with a bouquet on behalf of Mendip. But then, and much to Sue’s genuine surprise, it was Jane’s turn to present her with a beautiful orchid in recognition of a landmark birthday (the new 50…) coming up soon.

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Before the proceedings were over, Graham took to the floor to amplify the success of Mendip Centre, highlighting his appreciation of the camaraderie and friendliness amongst members and the way we show care for each other. He also kindly invited everyone to join in the Hive Beach picnic at Burton Bradstock on June 19th where the hope this year is to achieve 100 Morgans. It really is a great day out so hopefully everyone will do their best to support the event.

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Finally, it was over to Margaret to announce the results of this year’s photographic competition. In thanking everyone for entering and voting she reported on a voting turnout of some 55%, that’s 2% up on last year. Also commenting on the particularly high standard and diverse array of entries she appreciated what difficult choices had to be made which resulted in several extremely close runners in both Category A & B in particular.

First up with 15 entries to choose from in Category A (traditional line up), front runners were Paul’s “Memorable Moments”, Mark’s “Over the Top”, Alan’s “Line of Mogs” and Peter’s “Brooklands”. But these were all just pipped to the post with “An English Country Garden” by Jane, depicting this  lovely curving array of Mogs recorded at last year’s Wyke Farm BBQ.

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Category B, (a single Mog) drew 16 very striking and diverse entries resulting in 5 very close contenders including Kim W with “September Sun in the Garden”, Paul’s “On Top of the World”, Jane again with “Spanish Siesta”, and Edward’s “ My kingdom for a Horse”. However, the winner was “Paddock Torque” by Mark, Paul accepting the prize in his absence.

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Finally to category C, with 13 very different and amusing entries, the outright winner, with double the votes of any other was Kim W with her “Jewell of a Respray”.  Ron kindly accepted the prize in her absence

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(Doug says: For those who may have thought it was my photo, you can’t hold a camera steady whilst standing on one leg swinging your boot!)

The lucky winners, who incidentally were all different people to last year, were presented with a bottle of Morgon ‘Chateau de Pizay’ wine. Margaret looks forward to an even bigger entry next year and encouraged everyone to get snapping in good time.

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Sunday Lunch at Hartley’s Kitchen: 5th June

An exceptionally nice sunny day welcomed 18 of us together with 8 MOGs and Terry’s Jag to Hartley’s at Binegar. Unusually we were minus Paul & Jane who were embarking that very day, on a well earned break to even sunnier (we hope) Spain. Also gone AWOL was one, Mike Pa (whereabouts unknown at time of writing.)

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Having had a quick browse of the attendant Aston Martins that had gathered for a breakfast meeting, with such fine weather we immediately settled outside. Soon to be greeted by Paul Hartley in his inimitable way, his very efficient band of young ladies served our drinks’ orders in good time. Clive then enquired whether we might eat outside and continue to enjoy the good weather and this was granted.

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Excellent food as always, complemented by the al-fresco ambience of a Somerset summer’s day high up on The Mendips! Can life get any better? Thanks to Paul & Jane for organising and to Clive for proxy leadership on the day.

However…before we leave this one, there was a story from one of our e-steamed (there’s a reason for that word!!) long standing members which created much amusement and must surely be in the running when we come to decide the winner of the ‘Mendip Potatoes’ next year. e-steamed (there’s a reason for that word!!) long standing members which created much amusement and must surely be in the running when we come to decide the winner of the ‘Mendip Potatoes’ next year.

Briefly, our +8 owning member from Burrington, who shall remain anonymous, set off in the Plus 8 to catch the cross channel ferry for a trip down through France and on to Spain.

Having got well into the journey, they pulled in for fuel only to be confronted by a cloud of steam with the radiator boiling over. Garage staff were quickly to the rescue as they thought it was on fire! A call to Morgan rescue and the “man-that-can” diagnosed a dead cooling fan and did a by-pass job to keep it running constantly. By now, it’s too late to catch the ferry so a decision is wisely taken to amble home and get the tin-top and catch a later ferry. Part way back, it boils over again. Leaving it for a while, checking the cool temperature of the header tank, our man carefully removed the radiator cap, albeit with a rag for protection. Whoosh! Scalding steam shoots up both sleeves blistering the skin on both fore-arms. (our e-steamed friend… get it now?)

Morgan rescue once more, and it was finally decided to recover the vehicle rather than try any more bodges. BUT, Morgan will not go on tow truck due to ground clearance so man-that-can has to go off to get bits of wood. With MOG loaded, man-that-can insists on return route via Bath, rather than Shepton; and so to bed at 2a.m. with an early rise to catch tomorrow’s ferry. But it hasn’t finished yet!

On board at last, now direct to Spain due to lack of suitable crossings to France. Nursey in sick bay dresses the burned arms and wrists, the pre-booked French hotels have been cancelled (with no charge, so maybe things are looking up?), and they arrive late evening, very tired, to the hotel in Spain. But hey, suddenly there’s a firework display going on outside. Our man goes towards the balcony to have a closer look but forgets the split level room…falls over and hits bridge of nose on the edge of a thick marble topped table; and does it bleed! Having got cleaned up, he takes a look at the pristine white sheets on the bed and wisely decides that the risk is too great and so has to retire to the floor for the night.

Next morning, we see that even the floor has succumbed and so the co-driver attacked it with a nail brush and after much effort managed to remove all traces.

The culprit…fan relay costing just £3!

Will anyone better this we wonder for next year’s award; keep your ears to the ground.

 

Doug & Margaret went to the Loire Valley & Normandy

Our holiday escapades were nothing like the above, thank goodness. The worst that happened was the thunderstorm encountered whilst in Northern Normandy on day 9 of our 13 day trip, when we were strolling around Bernay, dressed in shorts and sandals! Along with many others we took to the only available escape, a large bus shelter in the town square. However, with hails like mothballs and torrents of rain, it wasn’t long before the water was pouring up through the drains and we all took to standing on the bench seats, clinging on to total strangers (and French ones at that!). An hour passed before we braved the never ending torrent and made a very wet dash some 800 yards back to the hotel. And so it rained on and off for the rest of trip but thankfully our journey to Msr. Monet’s gardens at Giverny stayed reasonably dry.

On the way down, we had a couple of days at Le Mans, where Margaret got smothered with embraces when we parked near a line-up from the French Jag XK club, until Madame finally realised that our “Jag” was a slightly different shape to theirs! We went on to stay for a week at La Charpenterie, near Breze, Saumur, as regularly advertised by Rodger & Margaret John in Miscellany. They are both British, very friendly and live unobtrusively on site. In 2005, they purchased  a couple of acres from the adjoining chateau and built their own large bungalow plus 3 gites: a 2 bed detached bungalow together with a 1 bed semi-detached bungalow which adjoins ‘The Loft’, a one up, one down which is the unit that we rented. Facilities on site included a heated pool, hot tub, garaging for the MOG, bicycles and even a tandem. Lovely to ride the bike through the vineyards to the Boulangerie each morning. The gites were well equipped and furnished, very peaceful, no screaming kids, my only gripe being the lack of view over the vineyards except from the upstairs bedroom.

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Doug & Margaret

 

CIRCUIT HISTORIQUE DE LAON 13th- 16th May ‘16

We first read about this trip organised by Scenic Car Tours in Miscellany last year, and thought it looked interesting. As we had only taken our 1981 4/4 to the continent once before on the trip to the Rioja district in Spain organised by the Wessex Centre, and we decided that a bit more “wrong side running“ was well due. So we found ourselves at the ferry terminal in Dover at an early hour ready to board the 7.35 am sailing for Calais, of course not in the old brown girl, but in our recent acquisition, a red Plus Four full of fuel but without the load of precautionary spare parts and tools that we had always carried before on longish trips! Scenic Car Tours had reserved the Forward upper lounge for the exclusive use of entries for the Laon rally with complimentary coffee and biscuits, so we had a very relaxed and comfortable crossing chatting with others on the same trip.

As beginners on French roads Babs and I had decided to use the A26 motorway from Calais to our first scheduled stop in Arras. We peeled off the motorway and into Arras and by a series of minor miracles managed to get ourselves to the Grand Place where all those in the rally were assembling in a reserved parking area on the square. Quite a sight with several hundred classic and vintage cars all lined up in the sun with a considerable crowd admiring all the shiny metal. After lunch we were off again. By now we had met up with fellow Mendip and Wessex members Ian and Olivia Dennison and Clive and Annette Hennessey, so taking advantage of their previous knowledge of the route we followed them to our hotel in Soissons. One incident was a torrential downpour part way, when we caused some amusement to the French drivers at the sight of three stationary Morgans with owners desperately rushing to erect hoods in the stair-rodding rain!

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The first challenge the next morning was to find the signing-in area to collect rally plates and goody bags. With over 1000 vehicle entries (yes!) this caused some long queues not the least outside the two Portaloos! The scheme for the day’s rallies was half the entry, assigned Route “A”, went one way around the circuit and the other half, Route “B”, went the opposite way.  Clive and Ian were on “B” and we were on “A” so we went to our start areas to collect our road books, and away. Route “A” was 112 miles and route “B” 125 miles, the difference made up by a variation at the start and finish. The route took us out on to quiet country roads through pretty scenery and small French villages, where many of the locals were out of their houses to watch the vehicles pass through. The route instructions, “Tulip” type, were mainly very clear and if you went into a village with nobody about it was pretty clear you were off route, but my navigator, Babs, kept us on route all the way on the morning section, and with only one problem in the afternoon. At about the halfway point for both “A” and “B” routes we all arrived at the village of Parfondeval en Thierache, one of the most beautiful in France, for the lunch stop. Well, here they really pulled out all the stops, food and soft drinks were provided for all the entry, stalls and shops were all around the village green, at the centre of which was the pond. All the houses and cottages were very lovely and a marching band was performing, the atmosphere of the crowd there and all the spectacular cars parked was tremendous. After taking all this in, we set off to do the remainder of the route finishing at a disused airfield near to Laon which was able to accommodate all the entry but it was a bit cold, in typical airfield wind.

The next day, Sunday, everything was concentrated in Laon itself.  There were a total of 122 Morgans entered from all over Europe as the “Marque a L’Honneur” for this 25th anniversary event. We were advised the previous evening by the Scenic Tours Rep. to ignore anything else we had been told and all Morgans should go early to the Place Hotel de Ville in the morning. This, Clive, Ian and ourselves did and joined a disparate collection of vehicles but only a few Morgans mostly French. Well nobody had told the French organiser; as the rest of the Morgans were all lined up along the ramparts below the old town! At 2.00pm, the start time for the circuit itself a police car and the Mayor’s car started around the town to check that all the roads had been closed to other traffic and then; led by a Type 35 Bugatti, first the motorcycles and then followed the Morgans that had been lined up on the ramparts started to come by the square, over 100 in convoy!

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We three were trapped until several other cars left the square and we could get out onto the circuit well behind the rest; ah well. It certainly was quite an experience, closed roads, barriers to keep the crowds back in the old town, and around the lower town. Tight sweeping bends lead back up to the top, with no traffic coming the opposite way, this led naturally to a bit of fun, mild hill climbing! You could keep going round for as many laps as you could fit in until everyone was flagged off at 5.00pm. We actually did two laps because things were getting a bit crowded and slow towards the end of our second lap but it was fun. We can’t imagine it happening in this country.

To wrap up the weekend, on the Monday which incidentally was a saints day, so a holiday in France, there was another rally route organised back by country roads to Arras and a second lunchtime gathering in the Grand Place. Not all the entries took place on this as some had booked on early ferries so went direct to Calais. After lunch, many of the others, including us, set off to a major French World War 1 war cemetery where they have newly installed a memorial to mark the centenary of the start of the war. This consists of a stone circle 345m in diameter with bronze plates inside on which are engraved the names of all the men who died in the Pas de Calais area of the front from 1914 to 1918. The names are in strict alphabetic order, mentioning no ranks, and list all those from a total of 40 nationalities including of course the major armies of France, Britain and Germany. There are a total of 575,606 names listed, a terrible number especially when you consider that this was only one small section of the front line that ran from the channel to the Swiss border. It was quite a sobering journey as on this run we passed so many war cemeteries from different nationalities.

As Babs and I had decided to stay an extra night at Soissons we returned to our hotel and travelled back to Calais the next day on the virtually empty A26. No sign of any trouble at that time although we had been told that the French lorry drivers were starting a 24 hours strike that day. Luckily they had not got the motorway completely blocked going east bound, but had blocked it completely on the side leading out of Calais. The approach to the ferry terminal is also quite a sight, you are funnelled down the road with a double high wire fence with razor wire coils on top, and on both sides of the road, and also one of the migrant camps is visible on the right hand side looking like a South American shanty town; pretty grim.

Terry and Babs 7/6/16

 

Wicked Welsh Weekend May 2016

We decided to return for a third time to Llandrindod Wells, to mix it again with the Wicked Welsh so on Friday 27th May we set off using our usual cross country route, after crossing over by the old Severn Bridge; but avoiding Hay-on-Wye this time, as we had noted that the Book Festival was on the same weekend and we had got well tangled up in the crowds there last year.

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We arrived at the usual hotel, the Metropole, in time for lunch, after a very pleasant, quiet and sunny trip. Soon after lunch the organising team from Taffmog arrived with the usual goody bags and full info for the weekend activities. The day was rounded off with an informal noggin and dinner in a reserved section of the hotel’s dining room.

As we had previously done a number of the suggested runs, we opted for the run to the Dolaocothi gold mines. Gold was first mined at this location in Roman times then they lay dormant until the 19th century when new diggings were started. Not a great success, after six years of hard work they had extracted 5 ounces of gold, then they went broke! Work restarted in the 1900s and carried on into the late 30s when the mine was abandoned again. We were kitted out with lights and helmets and taken down into the old workings, water dripping off the roof and through rough and narrow passages; very interesting and atmospheric. The next part of the route should have taken us to the red kite feeding centre, but as we were late leaving the mine and would have missed the feeding time we opted to take a scenic drive up the coast road towards Aberystwyth and back via the Elam Valley, very pretty.

Saturday evening we all gathered for the included dinner hosted by the Taffmog Team, finishing off with a good natter over drinks.

Sunday there were again a number of options available, with most going to the quirky house and lovely gardens called Abbey Cwm Hir. We had done this on a previous trip so instead we and several other Morgans went to Powys Castle, which is a National Trust property and very interesting, with currently a special feature on World War 1 in part commemorating the heir to the estate who was killed at the battle of the Somme. As it was bank holiday Sunday and sunny and very warm it was a popular place to be, but the extensive grounds were able to soak up the numbers easily, although the car park had just about reached its limit.

We, along with several others, opted to stay over until the Monday morning when we wended our way back by another quiet route sorted out by my expert navigator, Babs. Altogether a very relaxing weekend with very good food in the Metropole hotel and the weather, amazingly for a bank holiday staying sunny the whole time, during the days so hoods and side screens down! It did chuck it down during two of the nights see puddles in the picture but we were in bed then.

We did comment to each other that a couple of weeks before on the trips around the Laon area in France that we were murdering the French language reading the village direction signs, well this time it was turn of Wales as we were similarly murdering the Welsh language! At least we can read the names of the places around here.

Terry and Babs

 

Noggin at The Swan, Rowberrow 15th June

With Paul & Jane still in Europe, Clive and Nat kindly took the reigns for this one. With somewhat unpredictable weather, the 29 attendees only managed 6 MOGs. Highlight of the evening and a lovely surprise indeed was to see Yvonne drop in for a short visit, now back on her feet after her accident some 11 weeks ago. She was looking radiant and we wish her continued and speedy recovery.

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The food was very tasty as always and a good evening had by all, though the rain did peep through whilst we were inside! Watch out for the ramp to the overflow car park on future occasions!

 

FossilMOG’s Midsummer Picnic at Hive Beach 19/6

If you’re going to have a picnic, weather is all important, so why not go for flaming June and even better, as close to Midsummer’s Day as possible. This formula has worked wonderfully for the past 3 years and even this year the forecast was cloudy but dry until evening. Not the best, but we can live with that…but why, oh why, (with the Met. office only a stone’s throw away), did the wet stuff start to descend at 1030am and carry on for the rest of the day!

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Early arrivals got stuck into getting the awning up and were blessed with soaking wet feet from the long grass. Little did we know how much it would be needed as the day progressed.

MOGs soon started to arrive, several still with tops down, to work towards the hoped for, century turn-out. I counted 20 at one stage and I guess at the end there may well have been 50 or so.

Well we had our picnics under the cover of umbrellas, with views of sea mist and rain rolling over the nearby hills. However there comes a point when it’s time to abandon ship. In our case it was when the runoff from the umbrellas trickled down the backs of our chairs to give us soggy bottoms!

Such a pity, as Graham & Kim had, as always, put a lot of effort into organising the event. This year, they even had rosettes made up to pin to the cars, and a competition with generous prizes for the furthest travelled, nicest MOG etc. However, under the circumstances, only a very small proportion of the voting slips were returned making it a no-go. Incidentally, Tim Ayres of New Elms Morgan at Shaftesbury has now joined FossilMOG and when he heard of the competition generously donated £50 as a prize. All this will have to wait for another drier time.

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The Tinney Tour 26th June

This year’s event organised by Henry & Joy and ably co-ordinated by John Rob was a ‘sold out’ two pronged affair. Firstly a buffet lunch for 39 members from both Wessex & Mendip was held at The Battle Axes near Wraxall and then a drive over to Bitton for a steam train ride complemented by a superb high tea on board. Following all that, Alan & Jeanne, who had kindly extended an open garden invitation to all, welcomed a good number back to their beautiful riverside home at Swineford. Here amongst other things, Henry had chance to dry off his sandal clad feet! (there must be a clue here about the weather?)

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Although the day started reasonably sunny, it wasn’t long before the typical British summer weather made its mark. Most, though not all, left Wraxall with tops up ,on a “just-in-case basis” and umbrellas came to the fore as the day progressed. However, we all had a good time and are very grateful to the Tinneys together with John for bringing it all together. No doubt, warm thanks from Henry to Jeanne for use of her tumble drier to dry his socks off! A final hearty thanks from us all to Alan & Jeanne not just for the tour of their beautiful gardens and sculptured artworks but also for the numerous cups of tea & coffee, the warmth of which was only surpassed by the welcome extended to all.

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Doug

 

Committee Bits ‘n’ Bobs

No meetings have taken place since the last issue; next one will be 18th July.

 

Regalia

The most recent items, man & lady bags, have taken off well with several orders placed. (D & M found man bag ideal for travel docs on recent French trip). If anyone has any ideas for new products, please speak with Clive or Nat.

 

Bristol Classic Car Show 18/19 June

A snapshot of the Wessex stand at this year’s Bristol Classic Car Show. Their theme centred on the 80th Anniversary of the 4/4 and on the back wall, they displayed an interesting illustrated “time line” which visitors could study to gather the history of this model since inception.

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There were 4 examples on show including on the extreme left, Marjorie Lander’s 1938 Series 1 much of which is in original, well used condition. This was her first car and on the advice at the time from her father never to get rid of it , she has wisely held out for well over 40 years.

Next to that is Mike Baker’s 1958 4/4 and then Nev & Julia’s “Bluebell”

Messrs Williams came to the rescue  once again with the fourth exhibit in the form of a 2011 4/4 Sport.

The show seemed to clash with several events this year and I thought it may not have been as busy in the past…and of course admission fees continue to ease northwards!

Next year, it will be Mendip’s opportunity to take charge and we obviously need someone who is prepared to co-ordinate (I’ve had my turn!) and up to 4 MOGs to put on display. Any offers please to any committee member before the end of this year as we need to decide just how much interest there is and whether indeed we would have enough vehicles to put on a show.

Doug

Mendip Link

All contributions from your experiences are welcomed for the mutual benefit of  members. Just try to keep it as short and to the point as possible.

Technical

Alan & Jeanne’s 2013 Plus 4 recently failed to start when attempting to get it out for a wash. With nothing obvious pointing to the problem, it was recovered by “Williams” who quickly diagnosed a failed Flywheel sensor. (This is a small electronic device which measures the crankshaft position & speed of rotation of the engine and sends the data off to the E.C.U. to tell it when to squirt fuel in and fire the plugs etc.) Alan was very pleased with service received and said that in this instance, Williams pulled out all the stops to enable him to get to a pre-booked SpotMOG event on time.

Bonnet stays: You may have admired the Wolf Performance wind proof bonnet stays that several of us have, but maybe can’t justify the cost of over £70. You can buy the quick release ball joints for just £4.20 each and make up your own as Terry P. has recently done. Have a look at:

http://www.bearingboys.co.uk/Quick_Release_Spring_Loaded_Ball_Joints-3730-c

 

Disclaimer – Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information in this Newsletter is accurate, the Officers cannot be held responsible for any inaccuracy in any article or advertisement.

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