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Mendip Centre Newsletter Number – 136 January 2017

Editorial

Here we are with the final newsletter of 2016 and already heading into 2017, when in May, Mendip will be celebrating its 23rd birthday. What a great year it has been with plenty of MOG activities to keep us amused at venues dotted all over southern England. Paul & Jane came to the fore with the usual packed calendar of lunches and noggins plus some interesting “extra-curricular” trips to the Brown & Forrest Smokery and cultural experiences at Hauser & Wirth. Courtesy of members, we have had visits to Swindon Railway Works, Wyke Farm Cheesery, Berkeley Castle, Bitton Railway, the annual FossilMOG picnic at Burton Bradstock, the BBQ with Donald & Di and of course SpotMOGs brown shoe lunch at Prescott. (Note this year, that will be on 8th March).

Coupled to all this were extended overnight tours with Nick & Sue’s “Malvern Delights”, taking in the factory visit and Shelsley Walsh, Mike & Angela’s “Devon Delights” and of course “MOG16” at Milton Keynes, followed by an extended tour centred on Bury St Edmunds, the latter courtesy of Nick & Sue. Several memorable trips across Europe were also enjoyed by the more adventurous.

Back to this edition though, celebrations for Clive & Nat (opposite), but also great sadness in recording the final departures of Henry Tinney and Ian Williams.

On the event front, we have enjoyed Noggins at The Plough, Wrington and Hartleys at Binegar, along with Sunday Lunches at Winford Manor, twice at Wedmore Golf Club (AGM and first bumper event of the New Year) and of course the Christmas Dinner at Lyncombe Lodge where we welcomed (??) special guest Sir Percy Brocklehurst. Lots of thanks primarily to Paul & Jane who have put so much effort into organising not just these, but also many of the excellent events throughout the year. Remember, they will be hanging up the towel in the autumn and we will be looking for successors, who will receive plenty of back-up from the committee.

I am grateful as always, for members’ contributions and in this edition you will find probably the longest article that I have ever published. It’s a diarised account of Mike Pa’s trip on Route 66 last summer and runs from page 6 through to page 15. Even then, I have had to edit the photos down a bit but hope it might bring a warm glow to us during the dull winter months. Also, starting on page 24, a “Cripes…but it turned out alright in the end” article aptly, but initially bewilderingly entitled “ My Spotty Porker”. Thanks Ed. Not everyone has seen it you know!

We were delighted to welcome yet more new members to Mendip during the year and you will find the latest membership statistics on page 21. Also on page 17, I have included a photo of this year’s committee, who uncannily look like last year’s! That’s it folks; I’ve run out of space!

Doug

 

Congratulations to Clive & Nat

It’s not often that we have the opportunity to celebrate a wedding within the centre. Although we are all well acquainted with “Remember, Remember the 5th of November… this date now becomes even more prominent in their diary, as it marked the day they tied the knot at a ceremony in Bristol.

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Following on, a supper party was held in the evening at Congresbury for family and friends throughout the village. Villagers went all-out with food and decorations to present a superb evening, befitting of such a happy occasion.

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On behalf of Mendip Centre, Paul & Jane, thoughtful as ever, designed a lovely card carrying many congratulatory messages from the membership. In addition, they also prepared a super canvas print of Clive & Nat in their MOG.

Lots of love and congratulations to you both.

 

Noggin at The Plough, Wrington: 19th October

A new location for Mendip, in the lovely olde village of Wrington. A bit of a Pandora’s box as it is located just by the narrows in the High Street, with a surprisingly large car park at the rear. Despite an initial limit on numbers of just 30, imposed by the pub, Paul & Jane managed to bump it up to 35 rather than disappoint members. In the event we fell back to 33 as unfortunately Mike & Julia suffered a puncture on the way and due to the resulting delay had to resort to doggie bags!

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With the weather dry but threatening, just 6 MOGs graced the car park together with 10 tintops and 2 OSTs.

Aargh! Caught on camera: I don’t beleeeve it, John G. with a bottle of ….WATER!

Aargh! Caught on camera: I don’t beleeeve it, John G. with a bottle of ….WATER!

Great to see John & Dee back with us, following John’s surgery to his back which is slowly on the mend. Also Mike Pa safely back from Route 66. With everyone on one long table, food came in reasonable time and was of excellent quality.

 

Thanks but NO MORE Milk Bottle Tops for Charity

Unfortunately our collection chain for the S & D air ambulance has collapsed. Margaret thought she had found a new contact but it hasn’t materialised. Incidentally, via the ‘net, I found a processor down in Portsmouth; they only collect 500kg at a time (that’s about half a million tops) with a £30 payment, so you can see that someone, somewhere needs an awful lot of storage, which is perhaps why these schemes often become unsustainable. Thanks to all who have donated in the past. We will still collect stamps and ink cartridges though.

 

Henry Tinney: 3/12/1932—9/10/2016

Just as we went to press for the last issue, it was my sad duty to record the sudden death of our oldest active member, Henry Tinney, whilst driving his Morgan over Exmoor. Since then, a thanksgiving service was held at St John’s Church, Glastonbury on the 28th October. The church was, as expected, filled to capacity and included many members from both Wessex and Mendip centres. This was not a funeral as such, as in a final act of generosity, Henry had bequeathed his body to Bristol University, for research purposes.

Eulogies were delivered by his daughter Audrey and granddaughter Alexandra who reminisced on Henry’s upbringing on the farm, his eagerness to learn at school (he actually wanted to be an engineer, and was ‘well read’), and the past-times that he had enjoyed. From tinkering with model aeroplanes to actually taking flying lessons; his first Morgan of many in the 60s (Reg. MOO…) and the many record breaking journeys that he and Joy had tackled over the years; his love of the countryside together with shooting and other rural pursuits; even taking to the stage with his escapades into the world of “am-dram”.

Above all, we heard of his love for his family and of course his dear wife Joy, with whom he had spent so many happy and fulfilling years. As a final and tremendously touching tribute, lines from “God of the Open Air” by Henry van Dyke were bravely delivered by his grand daughter Elisabeth.

Following the service, we retired to a grand spread at the Town Hall where Joy, bless her, stood to welcome each and every attendee. Those of us who came into contact with Henry over the years will surely remember him for the kind, generous and caring person that he was. We shall miss the quizzes and his ice-breaking ability to whoop a crowd into sing-song. His Morganeering exploits far and wide will be a longstanding influence to all.

We have since had contact from Joy. She said how overwhelmed she was to receive so many cards, flowers and words of comfort from their Morgan friends. Obviously, it is very difficult to reply to everyone personally so she asked that I pass on her sincere thanks to everyone via this newsletter, which I am pleased to do.

 

Ian Williams

Sadly, we have also heard of the recent death of Ian Williams, husband of Rosemary and one time member of both Mendip and BogMOG. He was an ex-navy man and drove a green Plus 4 super-sport (original one that is). Some of our more long standing members will recall him no doubt.

 

Mike’s Diary on Route 66, and…if that wasn’t enough he then did the West Coast Drive in a Mustang!

 

Saturday 17 September: 6 a.m. start Airport at 7.30 am.

Uneventful flight arriving in “Sweet Home Chicago” at 14.15. Through customs fairly quickly and found tour leader and eventually most of the rest of Route 66ers. Bus to hotel failed to arrive (driver took another job because our party was a little late and failed to inform anybody.) After repeated assurances that the bus would arrive in ‘5  minutes’ and hanging around for about 2 hours we all took to taxis. Normal fare circa $55.00 but some in party charged $150.00 or more. Found Buddy Guy’s blues club behind hotel but too tired to go in the evening (Not worth spending $20.00 to have a beer and listen to the band for an hour so found and tried a couple of pubs.) Not really got to know my fellow travellers yet but undoubtedly will, over coming days. Weather hot 78F dry and sunny. Bed at 23.00hrs after being on the go for 23 hours.

 

Sunday 18th: Body still on UK time, woke up at 05.00 hrs, (11.00 hrs UK time). Went to collect car (this time the bus did turn up) and managed to avoid promised Toyota Corolla and got a Jeep instead, much more like it. Went walkabout in “Chicago, Chicago that Toddling Town”, sun very hot and feet very sore but very nice city for all that.  Had a burger for lunch, first food in 24 hrs. Typically American half pounder rather than the British ¼ pounder. Getting together shortly with others for chat about travelling tomorrow. Plan tonight to indulge in a prime Filet Mignon followed by Blues Club. Weather, sun very hot and 75 degrees. Went to Buddy guy’s blues club – the man himself made an appearance; a good night.

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Monday 19th: Chicago to Springfield 220 miles. It should be said at this point that Route 66 does not exist as a complete road, rather it is bits of the historic 66, bits of modern 66 and various other roads subsequently built over the top of the original 66. What this means is that the road varies from eight lane interstates to un-surfaced single track dirt roads and everything in between. Route finding can be problematical (especially in my case without a navigator) as there can be two or sometimes three possible routes through the same area   e.g. the 1930s route, post 30s route and so forth – you take your choice as to which to follow. “Scenic Tour” provide a copy of ‘EZ66’ the definitive US published travellers guide which contains all the information and maps needed to navigate the route along with information about places of interest and a great many other Route 66 related facts. So much information in fact that it takes a bit of working out the essential information from the ‘nice to know’.

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First day on Route 66 heading for Springfield Illinois, 220 miles (and apparently only “24 Hours from Tulsa”). Set off following fellow travellers It’s difficult to drive and read navigation instructions at the same time. Found our way out of Chicago heading for Springfield Illinois (Home of Abraham Lincoln and capital of Illinois..) Eventually took about 9 hours to cover about 220 miles because of difficulty in following Route 66. Went through Wilmington and saw first Route 66 giant. Got  to hotel to find it’s on the fringe of town with no bars/restaurants in the vicinity (except 1 Macdonald’s and 2 other fast food burger places) and the hotel has neither a restaurant nor bar so nowhere to socialise with others.. Very hot today 85 F.

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Tuesday 20th: Springfield to St Louis 100 Miles. Mainly straightforward drive as 66 well signed until diversion got me lost on a load of badly maintained single track rural roads. Found some very original Route 66 with concrete slab paved road and older still brick paved road. En route, came across a second Route 66 giant in Atlanta (Illinois not Georgia that is). Made a short detour to visit Chain of Rocks bridge over the Mississippi, originally part of route 66 but no longer open to cars. Eventually got back on right road and made it to hotel after diversion to an interesting motor museum (but managed to lose fellow travellers who were trying to follow me).. Very hot in SL in the nineties.

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Wednesday 21st: Non Travelling day. Forgot swimming goggles so had to buy new ones, Walmart next door could not help, apparently it’s a seasonal item?? Found a sports goods outlet some miles away – success! Back to hotel for (1st) swim. Took Metro into SL – definitely got “Saint Louis Blues” not much to recommend the place that I could see, only the Gateway Arch which you can go into and up to the top.

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Thursday 22nd : St Louis to Springfield MO 210 miles. Splendid drive over winding country roads and often driving for miles without seeing another car – driving heaven (would have been even better in the Jaguar or Morgan). Managed to get lost and do a few detours but eventually got back on the straight and narrow. Checked e-mails and mobile and found that not only had my credit card been blocked but so had my debit card. Could not get through to the relevant security department on my mobile (would not connect) nor Skype (No sound) nor even the hotel phone (could not connect). Eventually the tour organiser got through on his mobile and problem resolved (I hope). Again temperatures in the nineties. Hotel had neither restaurant nor bar but had some interesting Route 66 trappings.

Friday 23rd: Springfield to Oklahoma City (the big one) 320 miles. Long drive to “Ooooaklahoma” City. Mostly straightforward (only 1 Major detour of 20 miles) and a bit tricky through Tulsa but made it safely in 8 hours. Thought I would have to change the car as the air conditioning did not seem to work. Bad enough this morning when temperatures were in the high 70s never mind the day’s high of about 90 however, we’re going to be in the desert in a few days there it would be unbearable. The good news is it finally kicked in after about 20 minutes. Another long drive tomorrow If only someone will “Show me the way to Amarillo”. I believe the credit/debit card issue is now resolved – will see when I use them later.

Saturday 24th: Oklahoma City to Amarillo 260 miles.

Visited the cowboy museum in Oklahoma and spent an interesting hour there (could have done with more time) then off to Amarillo. First part of journey fairly straightforward. Stopped in Clinton to visit Route 66 museum, not large but very good. Came out to a total change in the weather; suddenly everything was wet. Carried on driving with route getting a little more testing as it kept crossing and re-crossing the interstate with satnav constantly trying to force me on to it so had to be selective as to which instructions to follow. Went through several bouts of torrential rain, so heavy that it was barely possible to see over the bonnet (definitely not Morgan weather). Arrived at hotel, again another one in the industrial wastelands outside of town and again with no restaurant or bar. Went to a huge Texas steakhouse (limo pick up) had very disappointing fillet. Aside from the rain, still very warm in the 80s.

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Sunday 25th: Amarillo to Tucumcari 120 miles. Started the day with 100 lengths of pool before setting off. Made it without too much difficulty – fairly straightforward run including a fun 15 mile stretch on a dirt road kicking up dust like all the best road movies. Visited (briefly) the Palo Duro Canyon – the second largest after Grand Canyon, then moved on to  Cadillac Ranch to see the 10 Cadillacs planted nose down in a field and covered in graffiti to the point where the paint looked to be at least ½ inch thick. Weather very windy and not as hot as previously but still in the 70s.

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Monday 26th Tucumcari to Albuquerque via Santa Fe 240 miles. Uneventful journey with only a few minor detours. Country roads carry little traffic, car passed in other direction then did not see another vehicle for 13 miles which is a bit scary if you break down as apart from a lack of vehicles, there is on some roads, nothing else. You are literally in the middle of nowhere. Reached the halfway point of the journey. Got to Santa Fe and explored the historic Old Town. Very nice to see something akin to a town in the UK as against some of the ‘towns’ passed through en route which comprise little more than a couple of shacks and a few abandoned rusty cars. It’s amazing how many classic cars are scattered along the road there’s hundreds of them in fields, front yards or at the roadside and in various states of dilapidation. There are of course some which have been renovated and are in use. The rest seem to be left to their fate and range from the 40s to the 70s. Santa Fe Old Town full of jewellery and clothes shops plus lots of street traders mainly selling Indian jewellery. On arrival at Albuquerque, did laundry and 120 lengths of hotel pool.  Visited Albuquerque Old Town in the evening expecting a lively atmosphere but found the place pretty much closed and deserted apart from a souvenir shop and a couple of restaurants and little else. Bar in hotel open to 10.00pm so at least there was a chance to socialise with fellow Route 66ers. Temperature in 70s

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Tuesday 27th: Albuquerque.Non driving day. Not too early a start. After breakfast did ironing and repacked suitcase. Another 120 lengths of pool. Wandered round Old Town and resisted the urge to buy western boots and Stetson, maybe tomorrow. Visited Sandia Peak via a tramway (cable car in English) spectacular views all round from about 10,500 feet – a cool 59 degrees at top whilst high 70s in Albuquerque. Ate in the Old Town, poor service with so-so food – despite restaurant being recommended.

Wednesday 28th: Albuquerque to Gallup 139 miles. Having fought my way out of Albuquerque despite the best effort of the satnav trying to send me the wrong way, the rest of the trip was without incident. No particular places/items of interest en route although the scenery was quite impressive in places. We’re in Indian territory here (they call themselves that, not native Americans). Listened to Navajo radio, couldn’t understand the language but the music was good; old American country music. Interesting hotel across road, lobby like inside of saloon as depicted in every western you’ve ever seen – was expecting to see someone emerging from a room on the gallery before being punched or shot and falling from the gallery onto a table below. Weather a bit cooler, in low 70s and a slight shower of rain earlier. Visited the American Bar in downtown Gallup, Locals (Navajos) very friendly wonderful real Native American bar. Met the local assistant district attorney who offered to pay for all our drinks all night – unfortunately had car outside but nevertheless a wonderful experience of real America as against tourist America. Lots of souvenirs given by barmaid. I  guess they thought we were the exotic ones. Turns out the hotel bar was dark, big and empty so left before it closed.

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Thurs.29th: Gallup to Monument Valley 225 mile (non route 66). Got up to grey skies and rain. Died out before setting off but ran into a few showers en-route. Visited Four Corners (the only place in USA where 4 states meet: Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Arizona.) Carried on down to Monument Valley with short detour to Valley of the Gods, quite spectacular but road very rough (thank goodness for the 4 by 4). Weather started to close in as Monument Valley neared could not see monument tops. Hotel very odd – about ½ mile drive from check in to chalet. Discovered that the hotel was dry so no beer to be had. By now weather closed in, rain torrential, Monument Valley (across highway) totally obscured.

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Fri. 30th: Monument Valley to Grand Canyon 184 miles. Early morning Sunrise tour of Monument Valley (6.25am). Despite forecast the day started dry and clear and cold. Set off to monument valley and was there to see sunrise, quite beautiful. Drive to Grand Canyon fairly boring but detour free. First views of G.C. quite spectacular. Hotel a step up from usual, not only does it have a restaurant, but a bar as well  so able to socialise again. Temperature high 60s.

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Sat. 1 October: Grand Canyon non travelling day. Skipped Breakfast, not worth $14.95 + tax. Helicopter ride over Grand Canyon. Quite spectacular. Lots of pics on way out but camera battery died about half way through. Declined offer of DVD of trip @ $49.95 + tax. Weather partly cloudy but sun very hot when out but air temperature about 65 – 70 degrees. Grand Canyon designed to rip off the tourists e.g. $30 to drive into park, equivalent of charging £25 to drive into the Lake District, sandwich $5.29 peel off price sticker to reveal real price $3.29, Petrol $3.29 a gallon, everywhere else between $1.79 and $2.29 (and exceptionally $2.69). Got talking to a very pleasant couple from New Jersey, George and Liz who told me what a wonderful evening they had in the pub in Limpley Stoke in the nineties.

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Sun. 2nd: Grand Canyon to Las Vegas 270 miles. A long one today, covered 370 miles. Detoured 100 miles to Flagstaff for quick look, looked like an O.K. place to stay. Re-joined Route 66 for a while at Flagstone and followed it to Kingman (163 miles) then left to detour to Hoover Dam and on to Las Vegas. Hoover Dam very hot and windy but quite a sight although water levels way down on what they used to be – spillway now about 30 feet above water. Arrived safely in Las Vegas despite sat nav falling off the windscreen. 3 nights coming up in LV. First impressions that it’s not really my kinda town but let’s see. Had very expensive Steak dinner. (Steak, Baked potato, Beer & tip $83.00 about £65.00. Failed to find blues bar but in area of strip joints. Made my way back to main drag and had a few beers in a bar without gambling machines then off to bed. Temperature in 60s.

Mon.3rd: Las Vegas. Non driving day Walked (Miles) to western wear shop but failed to find suitable boots (either couldn’t get them on or didn’t fit – too tight or too loose). Then walked to find recommended blues bar. Having walked a number of miles back causing my feet to be very painful will take taxi to said bar later after helicopter trip over the strip. Weather a rather cool mid 70s with a fairly strong wind. Helicopter flight short but quite good over night time Las Vegas. Finally got to blues bar to discover it’s closed on Mondays! Had to walk back and on returning to hotel discovered a huge blister on my right foot.

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Tues 4th:  Las Vegas. Non driving day. Late start today, finally leaving hotel at about 11.00pm. Walked to south end of the strip to see what I had missed. Went past Paris, New York and Luxor. Passed the hotel lake where there is a big water show which was on when I was in the wrong place so went back but by then it had finished. Visited a classic car showroom in hotel next door with good collection of (mainly American) assorted classic cars plus a couple of Brits and Italians. Some seemed very cheap.  Weather a more seasonal 82 degrees today. Finally went to blues bar and had a good evening – planning to leave at 12 but ended up staying ‘til 2 not the sort of place that gets many tourists. On return had minor mishap when parking car – scraped rear wing and damaged light covers. – oops.

 

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Weds 5th: Las Vegas to Santa Monica Via Kingman 520+ miles. Left  just after 9.00am. Retraced road to Kingman to pick up 66 where left off on 3rd Oct. Followed Route 66 over Sitgreaves Pass – very twisting road needing full concentration as some very long drops and no safety barriers. Got to Oatman, genuine old mining (ghost) town. Had lunch and continued journey. Crossed border into California –gas prices now shoot up. Passed on gas station asking over $5.00 per gallon (nearly 3 X cost of some places). Continued driving with gas now critically low. Found what I thought was a trailer park and pulled in in search of gas. Turned out to be a mechanical plant business. Once the guy there realised I wasn’t attacking, he put the gun down and after a lot of cussing and muttering (by him) he finally sold me 3 gallons of gas. Just as well as the next gas station was 10 miles away so don’t think I’d have made it. Very scary being in middle of nowhere with low gas and a road that stretches over the horizon with no buildings of any sort anywhere. Dark by the time I arrived in San Bernadino so had reluctantly to rely on satnav for remainder of journey (on freeways) to Santa Monica finally arriving at 9.00pm so 12 hours on the road. Hotel charge of $20.00 dollars to (valet) park. Went out for food and found a late night bar for a few beers. One barmaid for busy bar but incredibly she managed to keep on top of it – amazing. Will attempt Route 66 east-bound tomorrow to try and fill in the missing bits.

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Thurs. 6th: Santa Monica, the end of the road Went walkabout in Santa Monica and walked along pier. Clear blue skies with very hot sun although temperature only 70ish and a lot cooler at night. Went to English pub with fellow travellers and had a pint of OK Bass. Discovered the pub sold Dry Blackthorn (whoopee). Had final meal with most (16) of the travelling party who go home tomorrow. Meal (club sandwich) in hotel very mediocre with fries cold. Finished meal and made my goodbyes and repaired to the pub and enjoyed a few pints before returning to bed.

Fri. 7th:  Santa Monica to San Luis Obispo 200 miles? Off to airport to change Jeep for a Mustang. Set off for San Luis Obispo 200 miles from Santa Monica. Fought satnav all the way and got to motel. En route picked up first ever speeding ticket – not a good idea to pass highway patrol car at nearly 80 mph in 55 mph zone! Walked to restaurant/ bar just over 1 mile. Had meal in adjacent Italian restaurant (very good) then repaired to bar next door for what turned out to be very acceptable Californian dry cider. Saw a group of Harley’s going south on Highway 1 and lo and behold at the back of the group, one solitary Morgan 3W.

Sat. 8th: San Luis Obispo to San Francisco 280 miles Very easy drive today following highway 1 from SLO to San Francisco. Stopped to see Elephant seals. Spectacular drive up Pacific Highway. Great road to drive on (or at least would be if it weren’t for American drivers who don’t quite know what to do if the road is not flat and straight). Stopped for very good (fried) egg sandwich lunch in Monterey. Traffic in SF horrendous even the satnav getting totally confused – one minute telling me to do a u-turn ahead then saying turn right in 20 yards then 45 then 40 etc. (where there was no turn) next left turn then finally back to doing a u-turn which was not possible as right turning all up the road prohibited! Finally made it to hotel and got 2nd last parking space. Went for walk to marina to get pictures of Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz – results poor in twilight.

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Sun. 9th: San Francisco to San Luis Obispo 280 miles Drove to marina and got daylight pictures of GG Bridge and Alcatraz. Drove down the famous zig-zag hill in San Francisco before heading south on highway 1 (Pacific Highway). Must be Halloween as farm fields full of pumpkins and businesses selling them all along the highway. Drive down highway, frustrated by drivers unable to deal with bends (again) and much of the coastline under a heavy bank of fog so not many pictures of dramatic scenery. Caught a tyre so got a flat. Fortunately car did have (emergency) spare so journey continued. Kind young guys stopped to check I was ok. Departed when I assured them I was good to roll. Arrived at motel (best yet of those I booked) at 6.15 – apparently just round corner from an Irish pub. Saw 4 F-types today, 2 coupes and 2 roadsters – only ones I’ve seen apart from the tail end of one I saw in Chicago 3 weeks ago. Had a decent shrimp (king prawn) salad for dinner then repaired to the Irish Pub – not very much Irish about it but it did sell (a form) of Strongbow and stayed open late. Got talking to some friendly locals and came across another (young) Brit – didn’t speak to him as he really thought he was something special – and then to bed.

Mon. 10th: San Luis Obispo to Santa Monica 200 miles. Clear blue sky but quite chilly for most of the morning. Tried to get tyre replaced but too expensive. Tried a couple of places en route for used tyre but none available so carried on using emergency wheel and tried to keep the speed down. Picked up part of Highway One that I missed on way to San Francisco then missed turn from Freeway so missed part of it that I had driven up on Friday. Never mind one way or another I covered it all. Got to motel in the less than fashionable end of Santa Monica but about ¾ mile from Santa Monica Boulevard. Walked about a mile back to Santa Monica Boulevard. Passed a used car lot selling classic cars E-Types, XJSs, Rolls-Royces and Bentleys and a tidy TR2/3 as well as some Old Cadillacs and other assorted stuff. Walked past the original Muscle Beach and watched a stunning sunset (forgot camera). Had last meal of trip so had to be a fully loaded burger. Went back to Ye Olde Kings Head for more Blackthorn before returning to bar opposite motel for nightcap. Spent last $7.00 on a pint of not bad local cider.

 11 October – Home. Dropped off car before going to terminal. Plane trip tedious as I couldn’t get any sound out of system so no music or movies – KLM to give me 15,000 air-miles compensation. Long stopover in Schiphol but finally made it home to a pile of mail in a decidedly cool flat.

Mike Pa

 

This old sign…

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Terry W. went on a Cranmog trip to the Wye Valley in October. When they stopped for tea at a place called the Potting Shed near Monmouth, he came across this old sign.

(In those days, strict rules like this would surely have given you the willies!) Ed.

 

Sunday Lunch at Winford Manor: 6th November

A lovely sunny start to the day welcomed a good turnout of 12 MOGs and 4 tintops to the generously sized car park at Winford Manor. Plenty of space to line up but tops soon went up in many cases when we spotted potential hazard of autumnal beauty, the falling leaves! Just as well, as it turned out as there was a light shower before we managed to get away home.

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Of special note on this occasion, we were delighted to welcome yet more new members, Les and Ann Burdett who hail from Midsomer Norton. Les has long been a campaigner of his Lotus Esprit on tracks such as Castle Combe and it was whilst viewing the prospects of a new Lotus at Williams, that the MOG bug bit. They are now happy owners of a 4.5litre Plus 8, which has some nice extra touches. A good pair of fog lights up front, leather trimmed side screens, central trinket box, wooden steering wheel, bonnet strap and I suspect a few other things that escaped my hasty gaze. We wish them happy times ahead within the Morgan fraternity.

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Following a welcoming period in the bar, 31 of us soon went off to our exclusive dining area to be served with some very good traditional lunches indeed. On the vegetable front, generosity would be an understatement and despite best efforts, several bowls went back to the kitchen uneaten. Incredible value at £9.99 per head including coffee and choccies. The desserts were also well priced and very attractive. All in all, a very successful event and before we left, committee had a closer look at the function rooms with a view to further events here next year.

Doug

 

A.G.M. & Sunday Lunch at Wedmore Golf Club 20th Nov

This year’s A.G.M. attracted some 39 members and was held on a Sunday for a change, in the ‘Wedmore Suite’ at Wedmore Golf Club. This was a very spacious room and was ideal to host the lunch and meeting. Due to down-pours on the preceding night (we collected 30mm at home), only 4 MOGs braved the conditions. Mike Pa (who always drives top-down of course), would love to meet the Land Rover driver who shot past him in the opposite direction, through flooded roads at Langford. Whoosh! Can you hear the crunch of knuckles….?

We had set up a screenshow of last year’s photos and also the updated photo album to which has been added a handful of photos reflecting the past year in general. Then came the roast dinners supported by a plethora of vegetables, and finished off with coffees, all for an incredible £8.95 per head. (well done Jane) Desserts were banned due to the need to get on with business of the AGM.

Sue opened proceedings and full minutes are available to any member on request and will be emailed out closer to next year’s AGM in any case. Existing committee voted in en-bloc, as no other nominations were received.

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Salient Points included:

  • Exploration of the Fun-MOG name from last AGM resulted in no change
  • Bank balances very healthy & recorded a surplus of £208.84 this year
  • Subs. to remain at £10 p.a. / £5 p/½ year for 2017/18
  • Review of many successful events during the year; Appeal for event questionnaires to be returned; Paul & Jane now enter their last year running events, so we look to new blood for next year!
  • Regalia sales did well; appeal for new ideas; explanation that sometimes set-up costs may be too high to pursue. No Mendip calendar this year due to lack of interest.
  • Four Newsletters published in last year; getting bigger so some action taken to cut costs by adjustment of font and margins. 42.5% receive email copies; Editorial expenditure accounts for  47% of annual membership fees.
  • Website has had 32,316 hits c/w 26,475 a year ago. Flickr now has 2,141 photos contained in 80 albums, with 16 albums added in the past year. Photo competition to run again next year with similar categories. Members urged to at least vote, especially if they don’t enter.
  • Sue thanked everyone who had contributed to a very successful year and presented bottles of Morgon wine to Donald & Di for hosting the Wyke Farm visit and the annual BBQ; Mike Ph. for examining the accounts and Edward  for enhancing the TRUSTy Trip by arranging special parking within Berkeley Castle.
  • Charity donation of £260 was made to the D & S air ambulance under gift aid and so is not part of Mendip’s accounts; agreed to do similar next year.
  • Questions arising from the floor requires the committee to discuss Honorary Memberships; re-assurance given that our website will continue with or without the newly proposed MSCC one, which still has wrinkles to be sorted.

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The Christmas Bash, 2016: Lyncombe Lodge 2nd Dec

Following last year’s very successful event at this venue it was decided to book it once again for this year. Forty one members attended including some of our more recent Mendip recruits. Paul & Jane worked their magic once again as we were greeted in our beautifully laid out room complemented with party balloons and a welcoming mulled wine to set the evening going in fine style.

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Following words of welcome from Mme Sec. Sue, Jane took the floor to lead us in remembering our dear departed Henry, who was so often the life and soul of the party. At the memorial service some weeks back, we were each given a candle to burn in his memory and at the time, Terry Ph. thoughtfully suggested we hold on to them for this event.

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And so, on a special table upon which Paul & Jane had mounted a lovely photo montage of Henry and Joy with their Morgan, we duly lit our candles and spent some moments with treasured memories.

One of our Christmas party highlights has always been Henry’s quiz, which invariably gets everyone involved and stirs the old grey matter. This year, in something of a tribute, Clive took to the floor, complete with the traditional handfuls of Quality Street. Questions ranged from collective nouns to identifying mother and daughter combinations from an array of photos. Our resulting performances were, ahem… Well, maybe we could put it down to the wine? But the choccies were good!  Thanks Clive for all your efforts and we thought you did particularly well. (He did have the answers after all!)

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However, prior to all that came the meals, the tables being served efficiently in quick succession with plenty of accompanying vegetables, followed by tasty desserts and coffee. From comments received, I think everyone was well satisfied with the fare presented.

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Finally, it wouldn’t be Christmas without our very own secret Santa. Mendip Santa is still Gay but you would never guess, such is the transformation that takes place! Here you see ‘yours truly’ receiving a gift and naturally taking the opportunity to examine those nice new whiskers at close quarters! Thanks again Santa…you know who you are!

Whilst all this was going on, there sat close by, our evening’s guest of honour, smartly dressed in formal evening wear. Now, we are all aware that one of Mendip Centre’s treasured logos features the badger. Well, here tonight we were blessed with the presence of none other than Sir Percy Brocklehurst who has now retired to his country seat at nearby Langford. Talking to his chaperone for the evening, M’selle Dee, (pictured in mirth above) she tells me that he was once a very successful entrepreneur and was very big in earth worms and garden aeration. Pictured we see Doug bestowing upon him, the dairy farmer’s welcome that is so traditional across the Mendips!

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With folks moving about, chatting, having a giggle, as always the time flies and the evening sadly soon comes to an end, with most having drifted off by about 1130pm with a few sensibly remaining for the night. A good night out once again and thanks to all who organised and supported the proceedings.

Membership Stats. as at December 2016

Key: this year (last year)                        Paid Memberships: 39 (38)

Numbers of:

+8 = 13 (12)             Roadsters = 4 (4)                      +4 = 14 (11)                4/4 = 6 (8)

“Specials”, inc. above: 1 x +8 Le Mans; 1 x 4/4 Le Mans; 1 x +4 S/Sports Two members currently do not own a Morgan

Average year of registration: 2003.38 (2001.97)

Oldest: 1988 Newest: 2015

4 most popular colours/shades:

Reds 10 (9) Greens 9 (9) Blues 7 (7) Whites 4

Steve & Alison Smith (+4 S/S) did not renew membership this year.

 

Christmas Noggin at Hartley’s: 18th December 2016

What better way to celebrate both Christmas and also a very successful year once again for Mendip Centre, than to dine at Hartley’s Bistro, fittingly perched upon the top of the Mendips. The 37 “early birds”  who managed to get a booking, filled the dining room to capacity. Thankfully roads had dried out but fog was a-plenty, particularly around Shepton and out towards Bath. However, we still managed 7 MOGs to grace the car park which drew many admiring inspections from visiting diners.

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It all felt nice and ‘Christmassy’ as we entered with festive displays and of course crackers on the tables. As well as excellent cuisine, this establishment is also blessed with truly superb waiting staff, who despite their youth have obviously been well trained. With cheery welcoming smiles on arrival, they are always at the ready to serve drinks, even, I noticed, making their own sub-lists so that no-one would be forgotten.

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Grateful thanks once again to Paul & Jane.

 

Record Turnout at Wedmore on Sunday 8th January

Wedmore Golf Club proved to be a popular choice once again as a record of 48 persons attended the first Sunday lunch of the new year. If Terry & Babs (poorly) and Ed & Lindsay could have made it as originally intended, we would have been up to 52! Not easy to find establishments to cope with such numbers but luckily here, we were exclusively afforded the generous upstairs room once again, complete with manned bar. A good value and tasty lunch accompanied by the usual generous selection of vegetables was enjoyed by all with lots of chatter afterwards. We were particularly pleased to see Louis and Alison who have not attended for some time.

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Their lovely +8, (pictured right) brought the total MOGs up to just 5, many being put off with murky conditions and salty roads. We were also delighted to welcome as guests Janet’s daughter Alison who was down from Northampton for the new year. Also lovely to meet the Adams family, as Richard and Jill brought their offspring along. The star of the show undoubtedly just has to be their 11month old granddaughter Amelie, who was incredibly happy and well behaved throughout; a real delight to behold. A great start to what I am sure will be another great Mendip year.

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Doug

My Spotty Porker

I have decided to “come out” and admit that my love of beautiful cars has got me into trouble again.

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I haven’t long owned my silver Porsche 911 Carrera 4 and every time it comes out, I swell with pride over its smooth curves and wide body. This is a cherished super-car which has spent most of its life under wraps in a small private collection. Barely 1000 miles per annum have been added to its tally.  Not a scratch to be seen anywhere on its lustrous metallic paint.

So when the A39 into Bath began to be resurfaced the “Porker” remained in its air conditioned garage, so that not even a speck of dust would spoil its shine. We waited until the men in dayglow overcoats, with black faces, had packed away their beastly tar boiling apparatus and, taking no risks with newly laid chippings, we took the Porker to Bath the long way around until the road had been swept. But we forgot (I say “we” to try to apportion blame) about the white-lining operations.

Did you know that a heavy downpour of rain mixed with fresh white-lining paint makes for a quick and cheap re-spray, no matter how fast you are driving.  I first noticed a mist on the windscreen which wouldn’t clear.  A day or two later when I got out the trusty bottle of Windowlene, I realised that my Porker was no longer spotless.  In fact, it was very spotty indeed.  So aerodynamic is the 911, that the fine white paint spray had spread itself neatly and evenly over every inch of my curvaceous car!

And so began the challenge of “how to remove white-lining paint?”.  First, I searched the internet where to my chagrin I find this serious matter is a source of mirth and merry banter. “Try using a blow torch” I am advised.  Well, no thank you!

And then I remembered the band of Morgan Brothers whose knowledge of cars knows no limits. Surely they would have the answer. You may remember the little email Doug sent around (as my secret agent) asking for suggestions. Sure enough, a suggestion came from one of our illustrious sea-faring members whose talents I now learn, include running the QE2. The solution I was assured; first, apply WD40. Then a pressure wash, and if that doesn’t work, apply Vaseline.  No problem. And so I bought up Halfords supply of WD40 and Sainsbury’s supply of Vaseline (and managed to escape the self service till without being recognised). Rolled up my sleeves and began to oil her up (as it were).  The WD40 is fun to spray on and it makes the white spots gleam all over.  But that was all. Now I had a very shiny, spotty Porker. And next, because there is no limit to what a man will do for the one he loves, I decided to smother the car in Vaseline. This operation I can advise, is greatly facilitated by pre-warming the tubs of Vaseline in an oven for 10 minutes at 100 degrees. Any longer and you will have a serious oven cleaning event to add to your woes.

I confess I enjoyed scooping handfuls of warm Vaseline over the body of my lovely car.  And of course, I left it overnight for the magic to work.  However, I forgot that Vaseline is favoured by cross channel swimmers for its durability in heavy seas. Have you ever tried to get half an inch of cold, congealed Vaseline off anything, let alone a car?

This is where the Tar and Glue Remover comes in.  Spray it all over the vehicle, and the Vaseline starts to run… a little. So now use Fairy liquid and a sponge; a scraper is better (power hose has no effect at this stage). Eventually, the Vaseline comes off, in globules all over the drive. So once the car is cleaned off, another hour’s work on the drive with the power hose. The Vaseline is now down the drain and the drain is blocked, but that’s another job for a cold winter’s day when it’s pouring with rain. Keeps you busy.

And was it successful? Did the beastly road paint come off my cherished Porsche?  Sadly not, my friends. Maybe it works at sea where worse things happen all the time, and Vaseline, I am sure, has its uses!

And so, it was time to admit defeat and visit the professionals, who reassuringly had seen it all before “but never so badly”.  The solution was first to heat the car to 100 degrees using a huge hairdryer and then to use rubbing compound with an electric mop. Two attempts, and “yes” it all came off, and now I am happily wrapping my Christmas presents. Only a few more jars of Vaseline to find homes for!                                        EDMOG

[Oh No! Thoughts of “Secret Santa” presents at next year’s Xmas do??

And…credits really go to Kim for research & suggestions; thank goodness she didn’t share her first thoughts of nail varnish remover!         Editor.]

 

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

 

  • Don’t get your bottom rubbed: If you need roadside rescue, do have a close look at the tow-truck that is dispatched to you. Mike Ph. found that on two occasions recently, the truck bed was so high that it caused the rear end of the car to scrape on the road when it was being loaded. It’s the sort of thing where you may not notice damage until some time later when it is too late to seek recompense. Incidentally, “it never rains but it pours” sometimes: Following the debacle in Spain with puncture and over heating, he then suffered a severe blow out on the Merc. on the night of the Wrington Noggin. Then Julia also got a puncture in her car. Morgan to the rescue…but NO! The battery had gone flat, despite plenty of recent running. To top it all, on this model of Plus 8, you can’t get the battery cradle off unless the car is jacked up or put on a lift. Someone put a lot of thought into the drawing board on that one. GRR!

 

  • Time to kick the tyres?? With many of us doing a relatively low annual mileage, it’s all too easy to forget the age of our tyres. Although the tread and pressures may be regularly checked, the rubber itself may not be up to scratch and could lead to failure or loss of grip when you need it most. To check the age of tyres, look on the side-wall for DOT followed by a string of 10,11 or 12 letters and numbers. For tyres made since the year 2000, the number should end with 4 numbers. E.g. DOT 5MK9DHH4908 the last 4 numbers 4908, show that the tyre was made in week 49 of 2008 and hence would now be 8 years old. In the case of a tyre made prior to 2000, you only get 3 numbers at the end. e.g.DOT EJ8JDFM408 , here just the last 3 numbers represent week 40 of the 8th year of the decade, but which decade is not shown! If perchance, you don’t find your DOT sequence ending in either 3 or 4 numbers, then it will be on the other sidewall of the tyre as it is only compulsory for it to be shown in full, on one side only. It is suggested that maximum tyre life may be in the region of 8 to 10 years, but of course much depends on usage, maintenance etc. If yours are of that era, do have a close look for perishing of side walls and the appearance of cracks where the tread joins the casing. It may be a life-saver!

Doug

 

New Year Resolutions

  • Check expiry dates on passports
  • Check expiry dates on European Health Insurance Card (the blue one that used to be known as E111)
  • Get that tax return done to avoid end of January fines
  • Put the battery on charge if you are not regularly using the MOG & rotate road wheels from time to time.
  • Check out Mendip’s website events calendar and get dates into your diary or onto the Morgan calendar
  • Live life by the compass

 

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.

December 2016 and January 2017 catch-up blog

December 16th 2016 Hartley’s Kitchen Sunday Lunch

 

The last Mendip gathering of 2016, was well supported by thirty seven members. Everyone was in true festive spirit and enjoyed their delicious Christmas fayre!

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January 8th 2017 Wedmore Golf Club Sunday Lunch

 

The first Sunday lunch of 2017 was enjoyed by forty eight members in the Wedmore Suite. Excellent roast lunch and service started the New Year with a swing!

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