The 'Gathering' 2018
50 Not Out?

 

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12th July 2018…..Early afternoon whilst I was at work a cold eerie shiver ran down my spine and the blood in my bones turned cold. Dogs in the nearby houses started howling and not one bird could be seen in the sky. This could only mean one thing! The Dark Lord had arrived at my house and let himself in. Sure enough when I got home he was there. Hanging upside down from the ceiling, arms folded across his chest. By the time I got home Spot had put the Viva Team Vauxhall trailer and Casper the convertible in my now almost empty garage. After a cuppa, (which he had prepared), we went up the garage and started loading DHR and spreading the load with the trailer. Not a late night tonight as the “Gathering” was nearly upon us and we needed to get some sleep. (Beauty sleep in his case).

13th July 2018…..Friday morning I knocked on the Dark Lord’s coffin and gave him a cuppa around six. We had said we wanted to be on the road by seven and cover me in chocolate and call me Magnum, we were. A steady drive up, I led the first bit then Spot took over as he had a Sat Nav with him this year. Bugger me he only went wrong didn’t he. Of course I didn’t say anything about it as I knew he’d be embarrassed. Not much I didn’t. What a chod! There were road signs as well as some voice on his Sat Nav screaming at him to go straight ahead and what does he do...turn bloody left that's what he does. One nil to me. We arrived on site at ten past nine and after a quick chat about where we were going to pitch the tents and where we would put the cars the tents were erected. This year Spot had a new tent but I still had my rather fetching pink tent. I got the tent up as quick as he did and let him have both barrels because I beat him. Problem was when I went to tie the final guide ropes down, I noticed they were on the inside of the tent. Bugger! Much mirth followed on his part as I needed his help to flip it over. Him one, me one. Spot then started marking out where the cars would be positioned for the GT’s 50th birthday bash. Now this involved a clipboard, some paper and a pen, a tin of white-lining paint, a huge length of rope and a pole. I swear D Day wasn’t plan in such detail. I secretly had a look at the plan and the cars were even colour coded with each number plate clearly marked. No two colours were to be next to each other and all the YXD GT’s were to be in a line, in red white and blue order. By this time I had made tea and spoken to some of the owners club who had by now arrived, and wondered what the loony on the pitch opposite was doing. Next I had to park in my allotted place. I knew this would take some time as the micrometer had come out and state of the art satellite technology had been brought into play. Eventually he was satisfied and by now others had arrived to watch the spectacle. Come the evening we had six GT’s on the stand which had almost beaten the long standing record of ten GT’s in the same place at the same time. By the end of the weekend we had hoped to get between 25 and 30 together. A long shot but you should always aim high, (unless your trying to pee in a bucket). The evening was spent in the company of Steve and Dave, Flod and Deon, Mark and bro. An evening of sophisticated conversation, fine dining and vintage wine followed.

14th July 2018…..I went to the VBOA meeting which is always at nine. Nobody was there which was unusual so I went back to base camp. Cars started arriving and Spot was like a man possessed. He was running here and there pointing cars to their allocated slot and hurrahing anyone who parked where they shouldn’t, or was more than two microns from where they should be. After lunch the long standing GT record fell and by the end of the day we had nineteen GT’s. The day seemed to fly by as always. We were speaking to so many people and this year we were trying to log who came, as we had made certificates for all those who attended the 50th anniversary. We had great help from Mike and Marcus of the Owners Club, who, without their help and loan of gazebo’s etc., we couldn’t have made it such an enjoyable event. Marcus had taken our design for bumper plaques and produced some excellent plaques. I just hope he manages to sell them. There were a lot of cars with them on by the end of the weekend. Adrian had also produced window and toolbox type stickers for the celebration and once again our thanks go out to him. He'd also made roof signs like the old fashion car salesmen use to use. In the afternoon we were asked to take a selection of GT’s and HB’s into the arena. Now this upset Spot as his many hours of set-up and painstaking inch perfect parking would be ruined. In the end it wasn’t too bad as we did all manage to get back in the same place. (Although Torquey Chris drove in to his space the wrong way and you could see in the eys of the Drak Lord that he wasn't impressed). At five the highlight of the day for me was a fly past by a Spitfire which had been arranged. The only noise I like better than a V8 engine is the mighty Merlin engine. What a sound. Forget birdsong, or Beethoven, or even the harmonious Jedwood boys come to that, the Merlin makes the most beautiful sound known to man and in the most beautiful plane ever designed there is nothing to better it in this world. We all stood in anticipation, then in the distance you could see it. Then came the noise. It was only then that I realised my camera wasn’t ready. I switched it on as quick as I could, saw a button which said video, (I’d never used that before), and I tried to see if it was recording but couldn’t tell, (no glasses), so I just did my best to aim at this truly amazing sight as it flew by nice and low. Suddenly the bloke with the microphone said it would come by three times but I was still trying to work out if my camera was even recording. As I didn’t have my glasses with me I asked Dave who was standing next to me. He couldn’t tell either, blind bugger, so I just pointed and hoped. After it had gone I found some shade so I could see the screen and bugger me I’d done it. More by luck than judgment but I’d done it. The second video was the best one. I was following the Spitfire as it came towards us and you can just see the Dark Lords head in shot, then the Viva Outlaws flags flying proudly in the foreground as she burbled on by. I could have been a film producer with that amount of imagination and forward planning.  (See video here). In the evening the Outlaws had their AGM which went on much longer than usual but it was unanimous that we all prefer MH to Billing. Once again the evening was awash with intellectual conversation and the icing on the cake was one of my famous wines from the Viva Heaven cellars. By now also joining in the evening’s fun was Stevie and Chris and Michelle. Now this next bit is enlightening. A bloke came over to talk wheels and tyres with us. (Sorry can't remember his name). We saw a couple of cars on the stand with certain tyres he was interested in so five of us went over. After getting on our hands and knees none of us could read what size they were. Now a few years back we would have blamed it on the beer but now it's just old age.

15th July 2018…..I was going to collect some water for a cuppa when Spot said “they are over at the VBOA meeting place”. As it was 8:25 I thought this a bit odd but went over anyway. It transpired that yesterday’s meeting was at ten not nine and today’s was 8:30 not nine. Bugger! Spot two, me one. Oh how they laughed! Anyway more cars started arriving and by lunchtime the Dark Lords plan had been well and truly shot to bits. He had cars of the same colour next to each other, the angles were all wrong and the Dark Lord looked a broken and knackered old man. He threw in the towel around two I think. We had 24 GT’s registered on Sunday but some came and some went so the most together at any one time was 21. Spot was disappointed but it had been a sterling effort on his part. He had put his all into this weekend and I’m so glad he managed to get above twenty cars. We shouldn’t forget that other HB owners turned out in their numbers to get around forty odd HB's on the stand and I thank them all. We had Deluxe, SL's, SL90's, estates, modified, good condition and one which shall we say 'needed some work' but they were all there and we were very, very greateful. Mid afternoon people started to drift away but just before the majority did a man from Classic Car Weekly came by wanting a shot of the GT’s and their owners. Spot had brought along his set of ladders to take pictures from. (Only he could have thought of that). So the man directed us for ages from the top of this ladders, (it was a hell of a sight as he was.....how can I put this delicately.....a rather large man), moving cars here and there, moving owners here and there, then when he had taken about two pictures the sound of a Merlin came echoing over the valley. Everyone was looking at the skies; the man with the camera was shouting at us to look at him, people’s heads were spinning faster than spectator’s heads at a ping pong match. I was trying my hardest to switch the camera on whilst listening to the bloke stuck up the ladder and when I finally looked up at him, he was bloody well taking pictures of the Spitfire. So sod, him I set the video running again. After all the commotion had died down, he finished his 'shoot' and he did say he’d got the Spitfire behind the GT’s, which will be brilliant if he has. Trouble is when they print it in Classic Car Weekly the picture will be so small we’ll probably struggle to make out the cars let alone a Spitfire. Hopefully once published they will let us have a copy if we’re lucky. Anyway this time the video was a waste of time, out of focus and most of the time I’m searching the skies trying to find the plane and I swear this one was lower and banked just around our heads. We did have a short break before helping take down the gazebo and bunting as happy show goers drifted off after another glorious sun baked rally. A shower was taken and we had promised ourselves we would be starting our trek to Foxton Lock’s pub by six and we were. It takes us about forty minutes to walk it by the canal but last year we only had time for a pint as for some strange reason they shut at eight! (Only in Britain could a tourist attraction, when still packed out with people, close early). This time it worked well, we had time for a pub meal and pudding, plus four pints before walking back. The evening was spent mostly laughing as always, I think this Sunday night ritual is my favorite part of the weekend. (We used to do this at Billing as well). It was dark by the time we got to the site and as we neared the gates it dawned on us. None of us had taken the phone number of the people who would open the gate for us. Bugger! So we decided one of us would have to go over the top. Normally this would be the lightest person but luckily the lightest person was also the stupidest so if someone was going to get tasered it would be okay. So over went the Dark Lord. It was like something out of Hogan’s Hero’s, for those old enough to remember it. What you have to remember here is that HM Gartree prison is right next door. Anyway Spot couldn’t find anyone to open the gates so we all had to climb over. What a sight it must have been. Four old blokes, sorry that should have read, four merry old blokes struggling to climb an eight foot fence and get down the other side without getting stuck. It was like something out of Last of the Summer Wine. Once over and back at our tents some beer was sort and we joined the people who had gathered in the arena to listen to the music and chat about the weekend to LMF, the organisers. I think they’ve done us proud again and I hope they continue doing this for many years to come. The evening and weekend finally drew to a close and the 50th Anniversary of the GT was over. Another great weekend and I’d like to say a big thank you to everyone who organized, helped, worked, and came along to the event. A special mention to Spot for all his hard work, (I forgot to give him a vote of thanks at our AGM), and here’s to the next 50 years.

Remember to see the pictures clearly you can click on the pictures below for a bigger image.

 

 

 

 

MH 2018

With the Dealer Team Viva trailer hitched up we were ready for the off.

MH 2018

Every morning he would get up and come and salute the flag before breakfast.

MH 2018

The Jaffa under like minded flags.

MH 2018

We were asked to parade around the arena on Saturday.

MH 2018

The HB's followed on.

MH 2018

Ray made it. (That's the car not the driver. Bill's the driver).

MH 2018

The HB's on Sunday.

MH 2018.

I wonder who's head this is?

MH 2018

And finally the three finally come together.