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VIE en BLEU 2012

This year's VeB provided a great opportunity for Pembletonistes to revel in their various pleasures.

I tagged onto the (in)famous Day Trip which had been running around the Celtic Fringe, on Friday afternoon at the Bell in Pensax. I unloaded the car and with Colin, Tom, Don and the eponymous Chris Day and we drove the lanes between Pensax and PMC HQ in Bayton.

Phil and Maggie were most welcoming and we met Arthur (whose surname I forget) who is on the point of setting off to visit Spain in his SS.

The new wheels for Phil's Guzzi SS look absolutely stunning. They are extremely light, weighing in at less than 4 kg. and by all accounts the handling characteristics are markedly improved. The aspect is also much improved by the use of Avon SM 19” * 80 tyres. The track is wider and Phil is impressed by the improved handling offered by the massive reduction in unsprung weight

They are reasonably priced depending on which option you follow regarding spokes and rims (contact Phil for details) but I think I know what I want for Christmas.

We returned to the Bell and I set up my tent and prepared myself for the evening's entertainment. This consists of very good real ales and perry (not for me squire) and a good selection on the menu including the local asparagus.

Dave Parr arrived in time for a pre-prandial drink and then Ray Westwood and Alan “Avon Flyer” Percival joined us at dinner. I hope we didn't overwhelm them with our enthusiasm and JCR banter. Something must have sunk in as they learned a valuable lesson and they departed “a l' Anglais” as the French put it.

I received a frantic text and voicemail apologising for this sin of omission and I can re-assure all that they did settle up on Sunday.

On Saturday morning we started early for Bretforton and the Fleece where Nicki had arranged an asparagus breakfast for 09.00h. This was superlative!

We set off again at about 10.30 and took to some fine country roads and narrow lanes through the Cotswolds. After a stop in Moreton in Marsh we then headed for Broadway, coming down Fish Hill on the old road and climbing the wonderful new road with the right foot planted, to Broadway Tower at the top. My motor was smelling of very hot oil at the top and we gave the engines a cooling break in the car park.

Nicki had booked tickets for a visit to Snowshill Manor for 1.00pm so we headed down more lanes past lavender fields to the car park at the Manor.

This houses the most eclectic collection of all sorts of stuff, a magpie's dream. From Japanese lacquer ,bone ,ivory , jade carvings through musical instruments, model houses and ships, hand tools, road measuring instruments to an attic full of unusual velocipedes and perambulators and pedal-powered carts. A keynote collection of Samurai armour is reputedly the finest in the UK. I recommend a visit to anyone passing through the area.

We had a brief refreshment in the café before setting off towards Prescott, passing through the charming Upper & Lower Slaughters and finding time for a pint of shandy by the river at the Fox pub.

We arrived and headed for our designated area, lined up the cars and set up camp. Dan C was already there and set up his tent in the camping area. Get that car finished for next year Dan!

There was time for a shower (mine was cold!) and then wandered off to the club house for a complementary Pimms (or in some cases, several !) and nibbles before dinner. Darren and Sheena Howard were there with some friends and we had a brief chat before dinner. Get there with the car next year Darren.

As we weren't the only party to have reduced numbers, our table for 10 was down to 7 but we arrived to find two charming ladies from a wine tours sales stand seated already. Dastardly and Muttley (you know who you are!) headed straight for the neighbouring seats and I'm surprised that the two of them were not overwhelmed by our sad old git banter.

Good food, good company and good craic gave us a very pleasant evening.

Sunday morning dawned with bright sunshine again and we headed to the club house for breakfast. Dave had already eaten and was preparing for scrutineering in the Three-wheeler Morgan Club paddock. They seemed a very friendly crew and by all accounts were most helpful and welcoming.

The CSC had arrived at their allocated park next to ours and they set up their lunch-table laager behind the row of Lomaxes, the Tripacer and a very pretty Deauville Coupé. I had the pleasure of meeting Dicky Dawes, the acknowledged master of special aluminium bodywork.

What can I say about the rest of the paddocks? The hot metal and general drooling over carnography is almost too much for a sane man.

I can't resist this GN cyclecar which is street-legal, usually driven to the events and is a masterpiece of attention to detail built by Richard Scaldwell.

After a slight panic over form-filling for the cavalcade (during which I did my headless-chicken routine) we were all suited-up and ready to go by 1.00 and when someone suggested we start, I joined the queue and was told by a marshal to fit into the next gap. Mike and Ian Steven''s car had a vapour-lock and would not start but the rest of us had a run up the hill, Dastardly and Muttley each having a female passenger from a certain trade stand!

We were the last to join the cavalcade and so Mike and Ian missed the run, being turned away with the members of the CSC as the time available was very limited.

Dave was allocated a passenger and after his practice runs managed some good times, keeping the honour of Pembleton untarnished.

Unfortunately I had to leave after his first timed run at 3.30 ish as I had to get back to Pensax to collect the car and trailer to drag Silver Surfer home arriving at 9.30 having had the most wonderful weekend, 125 miles in Silver Surfer, a paltry figure in comparison to Don and Chris' mileage.

Next year, if a similar Day Trip visit to Wales is planned, I will take more time off to join in that part of the jollification too.

If any builder or owner is within 150 miles of Prescott I can heartily recommend attendance. In fact, it really should be compulsory.

Duncan Grimmond

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