Sunday the third of October 2010 was a day definitely erring on the side of Tin-Tops. The fastest moving objects that you could see from the Miele Car Park were not the Black Stuttgart and Munich made cars on the A34 but the Gunmetal Grey Clouds attempting a new airspeed record over Abingdon.
Two runs, one starting from Abingdon and the other from Lasham saw over 30 dedicated MG crews prepare to once again follow another well polished thought out route. This one through to Milestones Living Museum in Basingstoke.
There was one enthusiastic owner who arrived at the start with the hood stowed, but due to the constant precipitation he too succumbed to raise the canvas before departing. 10 o’clock at Abingdon saw the gathering of the clan to hear a few words of welcome from the AWC Chairman. He confessed that for himself and Gill, Miele still held the curse of water. Every time they have started a run from here, there has been a deluge of H2O somewhere in their home. Only the kitchen flooded this time!
Lights, wipers, action. In loose convoy the runs began.
From Abingdon the route south through Drayton and past Harwell took the cars on to the A34 for a short distance before leaving to enjoy the more scenic views through the rain of East Ilsley and Hampstead Norreys.
Not a good day to stop for a picnic and so good progress was made over Crookham Common. With a short hop along the A339 and a meander through Basingstoke the destination was reached.
After an enjoyable breakfast at the start for some, the run from Lasham took in a loop passing through some lovely villages such as Wield, Swarraton, Brown Candor and Chilton Candor before crossing to the north of the M3 to continue the loop to Basingstoke through places like North Waltham and Steventon.
Parking for many was a doddle. For one or two it was rather precarious. The area incorporated a rather sharp slope and coupled with the wet conditions made for interesting sideways movement. Fortunately no Blaze paint was mixed with Old English White!
One good thing about the weather was that the wind was getting up. This cleared the air of water for the rest of the day.
After a refreshment break in the cafeteria, Milestones living history museum invited us to discover our past. By constructing streets, buildings and displays from different periods of history to create a feel of life in bygone times, characters in costume and role playing from the different era’s added to the realism of the experience. Soon the exhibits had many muttering ’my mum had one of those’ and ‘I can remember that’. It became apparent that some could apparently remember items from a greater number of era’s than others.
Outside on the ever increasing muddy grass, the ‘Hampshire Oktoberfest’ was in full swing. Livestock was on show, the fairground attractions were buzzing and a good selection of food stalls were available. A large marquee held many a local craft and fare stand from fine jewellery to homemade fudge. This was erected adjacent to the beer tent which boasted over 60 real ales and live entertainment. Here in that well established meeting place of old, at times throughout the afternoon seated at one of the tables, you would have been able to tick off the list almost every member of the run. Some being spotted twice over. In fact, it was a surprise to some that whilst entering to get out of the rain they exited to bright sunshine!
A big thank you goes to all who helped with the preparation of the run, especially to Miele in Abingdon for the use of their facilities, Phil for standing out in the rain and Bob Foster, Phil and Jenny for the hard work put into the routes.
Text: Pete Davies. Photos: Malcolm Bailey