Classic Car Sunday – Goodwood


Last Sunday, the Goodwood Motor Racing Circuit held the latest episode of their popular Breakfast Club series. These meets, as mentioned in a previous post, are held on the first Sunday of every month. And best of all, entry is ticketed, but free.

Once again, thanks to the prolonged dry spell that the UK is experiencing, the weather was perfect. Blue cloudless skies allowing the bright sunshine to show of the varied paint finishes and, in some cases, the imperfections.

Here are just some of the photos I captured. First up a selection of vehicles, presented by the Amberley Museum & Heritage Centre.

Southdown Motor Services ran bus and coach services throughout East and West Sussex. The company was formed in 1915.

I guess there may be a slight delay while the “great British workman” has a tea break.

If my memory serves me right, the Austin A40 was the first British hatchback.

One of the most iconic of British marques is the Aston Martin. To be honest, there were so many Astons on display, I became a little blasé so I chose to post just this example, because of the fabulous colour.

The same was to become true for the number Jaguar E-types. Don’t get me wrong, I love to see them and I am really pleased to see so many classic cars being lovingly looked after.

But ever onwards, so much more to see and not all high end or high performance. For example…

As I said above, not all of the vehicles on display are of the performance variety. Many, like the Ford Anglia “danglebox” below, were the cars that youngsters of my era started out in. And just like the young of today, we were not averse to “pimping” our rides. Fat tyres, lowered suspension, flared wheel arches etc. etc.

The Austin Healy 3000, was my favourite “sports car” of all time. As a teenager, living in Battle, back in the mid-sixties, I used to see an aubergine 3000 with fat tyres, roll bars and bonnet straps. I really thought it was the business. And it has stuck with me right thru to my mid-sixties.

Sometimes, when the mood, light, atmosphere is just right a car will grab you. This, for me was the car of the day although the folks that were judging todays entries thought otherwise. What do they know ?

This car has presence, poise, curves, is simply put, just beautiful.

 

Who remembers Barracuda by Heart , well here is the car. And, yes, I know it is also a fish with very sharp teeth. Looking under the “hood” I’m pretty sure this car has the automotive equivalent of teeth.

We had arrived at around 07:30 and the number of display cars kept on growing. From a photo stand point we aren’t even half way round. It’s interesting as we stroll along, how often we are saying stuff like “my Dad had one of those” or “that was my first car” or “we had one of those in blue” etc. etc. etc. A real nostalgia trip.

I should point out that Goodwood is an active airfield, so an unexpected bonus was a number of planes flying in and out. Including these …

But, hey, this post is about automobiles, so back to the main event …

As you can see from the photos, the variety of vehicles on display was vast. The selection that I am posting here is just a fraction of the shots I took and is really only a taster of the caliber of this event.

And that is it folks. I hope I haven’t bored you with number of images. I am just amazed and the quality of the vehicles on display. The condition and finish is just a surface visual indication of the love that their owners lavish on them. We musn’t forget the mechanics underneath that classic bodywork.

I thank the owners for bringing their pride and joy along for my pleasure and I also thank the folks that organise these breakfast meets.

The next breakfast meet is Japanese Sunday, on October 7th. I hope to be there, let’s hope the weather is kind again.

 

Staunton Country Park Farm


A few days ago we spent a cracking day with some of our grand children. We visited Staunton Country Park Farm, a calm oasis just a short distance out-of-town. Calm that is, if you ignore the general hubbub of the excited children feeding the animals or in the play park.

From the Staunton website ….

Our farm, based on the 1830s style ferme ormeé (ornamental farm), is home to many different animals. Ranging from the everyday farm animal, like pigs, sheep, Shetland ponies, and chickens, to a selection of other animals such as llamas, a Poitou donkey and alpacas.

Here are just a few snaps that I took between pushing grandchildren on swings or carrying the youngest. Operating a Canon EOS 7D Mk II single-handed is no mean feat, weighing, as it does, nearly as much as my great-grandson.

So, for your delectation and delight ….

All in all a great place to take young children.

The farm is just part of the greater country park which has walking and cycling trails as well as three permanent orienteering courses. In the past we have hired bikes and explored the park. Sadly they no longer do the bike hire.

Staunton Country Park is a real gem and right on my doorstep.

Weald and Downland Living Museum


I am the eldest of three siblings and have two younger sisters. Years ago, due to job seeking, I moved away from the family home, in Sussex, eventually settling in Hampshire. Only 90 miles or so away, but far enough that our get togethers are irregular at best. We all have busy lives and trying to coordinate a gathering around our diaries is like herding cats. What we tend to do is pick a place of interest, somewhere between our respective homes, then meet up for the day. The main criteria being that there are nice walks in the grounds, interesting stately homes to explore and so forth. Also key is that there is a decent cafe / tea room or pub. Past venues for these family gatherings have been:

  1. Chartwell –  Family home and garden of Sir Winston Churchill. Chartwell was the much-loved Churchill family home from 1922 and the place from which Sir Winston drew inspiration until the end of his life
  2. Nymans – A garden lovers’ home for all seasons, with an extensive yet intimate garden set around a romantic house and ruins. Nymans was a country retreat for the creative Messel family, and has views stretching out across the Sussex Weald
  3. Wakehurst Place. Part of the Royal Botanic Gardens Kew, this wild botanic garden on the High Weald of West Sussex has over 500 acres of beautiful ornamental gardens, woodlands and a nature reserve. Wakehurst is also home to the Millennium Seed Bank, the largest wild seed conservation project in the world.
  4. Bodiam Castle – Archetypal 14th century moated castle with ruined interior – a glimpse of medieval splendour. Set in the heart of an historic landscape, with spiral staircases, battlements and a portcullis, 14th century Bodiam Castle is one of Britain’s most picturesque and romantic ancient monuments.

And so we come to our latest gathering.

The venue of choice on this occasion was The Weald and Downland Living Museum. In their own words

Come and discover rescued rural homes and buildings set in a beautiful landscape, which tell the stories of the people who lived and worked in them over 1,000 years.

Enjoy our family friendly 40-acre site and visit our collection of historic buildings – we have more than 50 to explore from a replica Anglo-Saxon hall house to an Edwardian tin tabernacle church. There is a regular programme of demonstrations, including milling in our 17th century watermill; cooking in our Tudor kitchen; blacksmithing in our Victorian smithy; plus seasonal demonstrations. Take a walk in the woods, bring the dog (we are dog-friendly), visit our waterside café (also dog-friendly) or enjoy your own picnic.

Weald1

North Cray Medieval House & Lavant Building

As is our normal practice, we met in the cafe, and set about orienting ourselves while downing a cuppa.

Weald3

Lakeside Cafe

The nice thing about this location, is the fact that it is constantly growing. Gerry and I have visited on several previous occasions and it is always different, there is always something new.

A prime example of the new is the dairy building below. Still under construction / restoration, this building dates from c1807 and originates from Eastwick Park, Surrey.

As stated above, there are over 40 acres of grounds with buildings spread all over. From my memory, one of the earliest buildings that we have visited is the mill.

The Weald and Downland Museum regularly appears on TV and there is a current series being broadcast. As they were filming something for that series part of the site was off-limits. Didn’t stop me taking a couple of pictures though.

My grandfather worked the land, using horses, in the county of Sussex around Lancing, Worthing and Sompting. It is entirely possible that he may have visited this Victorian Smithy, from Southwater, during his working years.

We should consider ourselves very lucky, with all the technology and heavy machinery at our disposal. Back in the day things were very different, the work hard and often back-breaking. For example, does anyone fancy working a saw-pit ?

Weald18

Saw-Pit from Sheffield Park

At least the workers would have had shelter from the rain or sun. The building here is 19th century and provided cover over a permanent saw-pit on the Sheffield Park estate.

Some of the hard labour was delegated to animals. Here is an example of a 19th century  “horse-gin” from Patching, Sussex.

Weald19

19th Century “horse-gin” from Patching, Sussex

“gin” appears to be a contraction of the word “engine”. Such devices were used to drive threshers or churns, but could also be used to pump water or raise coal or miners from  mines. The example below was used to mix the “pug” for making bricks.

Weald20

Redford Pug Mill

Not all the buildings here are industrial or agricultural. After all that physical labour the spiritual needs of the workers would have to be catered for.

Many trades are reflected in the various buildings here, plumbing ….

shop-keeping ….

Weald26

To the left is Horsham Medieval Shop, Front and centre is Titchfield Market Hall

Also on display are a number of residential buildings. The following pictures are of  Whittakers Cottages, built in Ashtead during the mid 1860s.

Also on display are various wagons, animal boxes and so forth….

This house was removed and resurrected from Walderton, Sussex. The flint and brick exterior date from early to mid 17th century. However, the insides are what remains of a medieval timber-framed building.

 

Below is a 19th century Stable from West Wittering, currently be used as a Potting Shed …

The following building was originally a cart shed but it was converted into a schoolhouse.

For some years up to 1851 it was used as a school for “six poor children from the parish of West Wittering”.

The museum is also home for a number of animals including horses, oxen, chickens and ducks.

This is the proud Percheron mother of a foal, just two and a half weeks old.

By the time we arrived at the foals enclosure a storm was moving in. Thunder rumbling and lightening flashing. The foal didn’t seem to be fazed by the noise but mum was obviously aware. When the rain started, the foal was frolicking around, galloping and leaping in the air. Considering that the foal had never experienced rain this was a joyful moment.

With the rain looking like it was in for the remainder of the day we headed along the high path back to the cafe. We were presented with the following views through the rain …

Back at the cafe we had a nice cuppa and a slice of flapjack before saying our good-byes and heading home.

It was a good day and I for one am looking forward to the next visit.

 

 

 

 

 

Flaming June


The month of June is quite often referred to as “Flaming June”. Depending on the weather this can be either a positive description or a negative one. This year I believe this description would be delivered as a positive.

The weather has been predominantly good, much to the benefit of the roses. Here are a few from my garden.

Yet Another Squirrel Picture


Over the last few weeks I have loaded up two of my bird feeders with around 2 kilos of sunflower hearts. One feeder has a stainless steel mesh and is mainly frequented by the various members of the tit family. Supplemented by the occasional visits of a pair of Nuthatches and Robins. And today we even had a Bullfinch, a first for us.

The other feeder is a little more open and needless to say is the preferred food source for, yep, you guessed it. The squirrels …..

SquirrelFeeder

Loitering With Intent

I wouldn’t mind, but in stealing the birds food they spill more on the ground than they actually eat.

SquirrelFeeder1

Caught In The Act

This ground based bounty then attracts the attention of those flying pigs, the Wood Pigeons. I call them pigs because of the volume of seed a single pigeon consumes. I also refer to them as vultures, as they sit high up in the trees waiting for us humans to leave the garden so they can come down and scavenge. They remind me of that old cartoon and tee shirt design …..

Patience

One day they will lose their patience, fly down and attack me instead of waiting for me to fill the feeders.

Anyway, I know, it’s my fault, I bought the wrong type of feeder. But I have yet to find a squirrel proof feeder. These little scallywags have such sharp teeth and are so persistent, that they have chewed their way into every feeder that doesn’t give them instant access to the food, like the one above.

Like us humans and our money, who want instant access to our cash. We have ATMs, the squirrel community want ASDs. Automated Seed Dispensers.

 

The Bluebell Line


Continuing a theme of stepping back in time, today’s post is about the Bluebell Railway which runs between East Grinstead & Sheffield Park in East Sussex.

Bluebell

Bluebell Railway – Sheffield Park Station

This was another “wrinklies” trip, organised by the IBM Retired Employees Club. And what a fine day out it was.

A coach trip through some of the finest countryside that Hampshire and Sussex have to offer. You see so much more from the high vantage point that a coach provides. Seeing much that is missed, hidden behind hedgerows when sitting in a car.

On arrival at Sheffield Park, we had time to wander the station, the gift shop and cafe.

Bluebell1

Bluebell Line – Sheffield Park – Platform view with some rolling stock in the distance.

Over to the right you can just make out a brown locomotive. This is the Fenchurch, the oldest engine on the Bluebell Line.

Fenchurch was built in 1872 for the London Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Bluebell24

It was sold in 1898 to the Newhaven Harbour Company where it worked for many years. It finished its working life on the Hayling Island branch where the light weight, at 28 tons, was valuable due to the limits on the bridge over the estuary.

Whilst wandering the platforms, browsing the souvenir shop and raiding the restaurant for some chilled water, our train arrived.

The walls of the station buildings are adorned with the advertising posters of yesteryear, many stirring quite strong memories.

Before we could board, the existing passengers had to disembark, and then the engine had to be moved from the one end of the train to the other.

While the engine swapped ends the carriage for our group was also being prepared for our luncheon. We were to enjoy a ploughman’s lunch and fresh brewed tea.

Once our engine was re-attached to our train there was just time for a few more shots before boarding.

And then we were off. Not the smooth running of todays diesel/electric trains. Rather a gentle pulsing which comes from the steam-driven pistons driving our locomotives wheels. Then there was the aroma, coal fire mixed with steam. Once experienced, never forgotten.

The line passes through some beautiful countryside. We saw cows, sheep, quite a few pheasants. I even saw, what I assumed was an owl box, shaped like the gable end of barn, mounted in a tree close by the railway.

We were sat across our table from a nice couple of gents with whom we nattered about all manner of subjects. We all enjoyed our ploughman’s lunch although perhaps it would have been more appropriate to have had an engine drivers breakfast. Bacon, sausage, eggs and toast cooked on a shovel in the firebox. But I guess that would have been too much to ask for. Even the tea could have made using steam from the boiler.

Ah well, perhaps another time. All too soon our journey was over and we all left the train and headed back to our coach for the drive home.

Bluebell25

Journeys End – an almost deserted platform

And finally, when we had a nationalised railway system, we all moaned and wished we could go back to the days of the independent and local railway companies. Now we have a national rail network with franchised companies running the trains. With the current, recurring railway network chaos headlining our newspapers and television news, it seems we are all wishing we had our old nationalised system under British Railways ……

Bluebell23

 

 

Monty The Boat Horse


As an IBM retiree, I am a member of the IBM Retired Employee Club. The club organises various activities to keep us occupied, mainly via organised excursions. These activities can vary from shopping trips to London, mystery coach rides through the British countryside, shows and visits to stately homes.

Canal12

Canal Side Flowers

A couple of weeks ago we did something a little different, for us. The scheduled excursion was a trip to the old market town of Marlborough, combined with a horse-drawn boat trip on the Kennet and Avon canal.

Canal6

Tranquility

So, reasonably early in the morning, we set of on the coach. It was quite a dull day, in fact it rained quite hard as we drove down the M27. This didn’t bode well for the time we were due to spend in Marlborough. Plodding around shops is not my idea of fun. Doing it in the rain, even less so. However, 90 minutes or so later we arrived at Marlborough High Street, the second widest in Britain. The rain had eased off to a light drizzle so that was good.

Marlborough is an interesting town but, since we have visited several times before, we opted to spend very little time window shopping. Instead searching out a cozy hostelry, namely the Castle & Ball hotel, which dates from the 15th century. Here we had a very pleasant meal.

Having completed our lunch, we were soon back on the coach, ready for the days highlight, the boat trip. And, after a short, thirty minute drive, we arrived at Kintbury and were soon aboard the canal boat.

Canal8

Kennet Valley – Our 1 Horse Power canal boat

Our horse-drawn boat, Kennet Valley, is a wide-beam passenger vessel, purpose-built in 1976. She operates from Kintbury and is 20.4m (67ft) long by 3m (10ft) wide. Powered solely by the 1hp towing action of a horse.

Canal10

Monty ‘The Star’ – a Welsh Cob Shire Cross

The horse in question is Monty ‘The Star’ a Welsh Cob Shire Cross. He was ready and harnessed when we arrived. Shortly, after all passengers were aboard, Monty was hitched up and off we went.

Canal

Regular Stretching Exercises – Keeping The Rope Clear

This is a fabulous way to travel. So smooth and quiet. Sometimes, there are obstacles to negotiate. The guys, our crew of three, were very adept. Lifting the tow rope over other craft moored alongside, so as not to take down their chimneys ……..

Canal1

Aye Aye Skipper

….. steering to avoid oncoming craft. Yes it was very busy. I think during our three hours on the boat we encountered two other craft coming towards us. I think the rules were that, since we were under horse power, they had to give way to us. …..

…. Locks are an intrinsic part of the canal way of life. During our journey we had two locks to negotiate each way ….

Canal9

Passing Through The Lock

….. and bridges too.

Between locks, some of us decided to jump ship and walk alongside the canal. This was so relaxing.

Canal5

Threading the canal boat through the eye of the needle

If there hadn’t been some fifty odd passengers chattering away, this would have been a very quiet journey.

About half way through our journey, the galley was opened and we were served a fabulous tea. Hot tea and coffee along with Walnut Cake, Victoria Sponge and Lemon Drizzle Cake. Best of all we were treated to Fruit Scones with Cherry Jam and Cream. Surprisingly, the chatter level increased with everyone enthusing about the quality of the fare.

However, even with all that chatter, this was a lovely way to travel. No monotonous engine drone, no exhaust fumes, just the fresh country air. All accompanied by the bleating of lambs in the fields and the birdsong to join us on our gentle glide along the canal.

Canal7

Monty walked steadily along, grabbing mouthfuls of grass and other foliage at every opportunity. Literally, foraging on the hoof. During our journey, we were regaled with tales of how, on a previous “wrinklies” trip, Monty did a runner. When Monty was un-hitched to allow the boat through one of the locks, he decided he had had enough and took off along the canal-side, all the way home. This left the boat stranded while the skipper trotted back home to retrieve Monty and bring him back to finish his days work.

On this occasion he behaved himself. Our journey was all to soon completed and we were back on the coach. Safely back to our departure point and then on to home.

A Great Day Out.