Bette's pre Christmas 'brunch' at Ansty 'Pick Your Own' on the 9th November
was well attended when 17 members sat down to enjoy late breakfast
fare.This was the first such event the Section has attempted but proved so
popular it's already been included in next years events calendar. The
combined Wessex and Dorset Section evening, a talk on Donald Campbell by
Phil Holt who is currently involved in the ongoing Bluebird K7 project, was
attended by around 50 Dorset, Wessex and Somerset Section members. The
joint meeting was arranged to share the cost of an expensive speaker but the
high standard of the presentation given certainly made the costs and all
Bette's planning worthwhile. Thanks go to those who turned out much earlier
than usual for the meeting in foul riding/driving weather. Our AGM on 13th
January will be followed by a quiz ably set by Frank Cropp
For the first time our Section Christmas meal took place at lunchtime rather than as, in previous years, the evening. This move proved popular as 25 people sat down to lunch in the 'Kings Arms Inn'. Thanks to Denise Lydford for once again organising the event. As many will know 'The Kings Arms Inn' has changed hands recently. We have met the new owners and we're pleased they've agreed to us continuing our meeting's there. By the time this appears in the Journal most members will have a copy of our 2020 calendar which is also on our Section website, however if you would like a hard copy then contact either myself or Bette Barber. Our speaker on February 10th is Peter Benger who will be entertaining us with his talk entitled 'The Last Cotton'. Hopefully we'll have a good attendance and the February weather will be kind to us.
Our first breakfast meet of the year took place at Ansty PYO, attended by the usual regulars. The AGM two days later saw the existing committee elected for a further year. At a longer than usual meeting Bette Barber presented Rachel Gray with a voucher in recognition of the work she does organising the raffle, a major source of the Sections annual income. There was lengthy discussion on the purchase of a digital projector for the Section after which a vote was taken and carried unanimously in favour of the purchase. The AGM was followed by a quiz, once again ably set by Frank Cropp. Although set with the ladies in mind it only served to show the general lack of knowledge of the participants! Eventually won by the combined efforts of Bettie Barber and Ian Clarke. March clubnight see's Bill King returning for a talk entitled 'On Two Wheels'
At our February meeting we were entertained by Peter Benger giving a talk on 'The Last Cotton Motorcycle', a bike designed to fulfil the requirements of the MOD but which in the end lost out to an offering from NVT. In April we start the month (on the 13th) with a talk by John Rock entitled 'Three Hats' about his time in the motorcycle trade, then as the designer and manufacturer of 'blue water' yachts and finally his photographic career. John is the grandson of the founder of Rockson Motorcycles a long defunct brand manufactured in the 'Black Country' and mainly exported to our (then) Empire. Our first riding event of the season, Gabby's Hinton St Mary Run, is on the 19th at Hinton St Mary Cricket Club DT10 1NA 10.30am for 11.00am start and is, as with all our runs, restricted to pre 1931 machines only. See you there?
The speaker at our March club night, Bill King, gave an interesting and informative illustrated talk on the history of the bicycle. His talk showed that almost every innovation later seen on motorcycles had its origin on the bicycle. Since the meeting of course the country has found itself in 'lockdown' and the Wessex Veteran and Vintage Section has therefore, reluctantly, had to cancel all future monthly meetings, social runs and breakfast meets until further notice. Unfortunately virtually every one of our regular attendee's fall into the 'at risk' category being over 70, however all of us have at least either a landline, mobile or email address and I would urge members to keep in regular contact using one or more of these facilities until this pandemic is over. We will try to rebook speakers who can't come this year for the 2021 programme. In the meantime stay safe everyone.
As I write this we're already into our sixth week of lockdown but hopefully by the time you read this at least some of the restrictions will have been eased. In the meantime, like all other Sections our monthly meetings, breakfast meets and runs are currently on hold. Your Secretary Bettie has, however, been busy contacting our scheduled speakers and arranging for them to come on the equivalent months in 2021 by which time we hope the current crisis will be behind us. She's also been in contact with our members ensuring they are all safe and well. Meanwhile I guess the tasks we've all been putting off for years are now getting done and machines are being 'fettled' ready for when the riding season begins. Me? Well I've still got the head gasket on the 1927 Morgan Aero to change followed by a routine service. Keep Safe. Keep Well.
Another month in 'lockdown' is over which means we must be getting nearer to the day when the Section can meet again, if only from a 2 metre distance. In the meantime I'm sure many of our machines have received far more attention over the past 9 weeks than they have in the past 9 years! I look forward to seeing these immaculate machines on our runs in the future. Hopefully not all the machines currently under restoration have now got to the stage when no further work can be undertaken because local paint shops, wheel builders and other services are, understandably, still not operating as I write. Bette has been keeping in touch with our members by phone and email, so far all our members have managed to stay safe and well during these troubled times. Hopefully the Kings Arms will also survive the 'lockdown' and welcome us back.
As I write these notes we're almost into fourteen weeks of lockdown during
which our only contact with members has been by telephone. However, with
the gradual lifting of the lockdown, we will hopefully soon be meeting again. In
anticipation of this, having consulted members, we have booked the village
hall in Silton on Monday 10th August from 2pm until 5pm. The hall has a large
carpark sufficient for us to follow whatever social distancing measures are in place at that time, giving members an opportunity to ride their machines. We
wait to see if our usual venue has weathered the Covid 19 crisis unscathed
and reopens, however it is such a small building its hard to see how social distancing could be achieved there. Our breakfast meet venue is open and we'll have visited there by the time this is published.
In early July we held our first informal 'get together' at Ansty Pick Your Own thanks to the considerable efforts of Bette and the continued co-operation of Kay the owner. We were able to socially distance in a field adjacent to the farm whilst being served our pre-ordered bacon butties and tea or coffee by the PYO staff. The event attracted 14 'regulars' and by the time you read this we will have had our second informal gathering at Silton Village Hall where, once again, we can socially distance either in the large car park or, if the weather is inclement, in the halls large open barn. This is our first attempt at a gathering in the afternoon and, if successful, may well pave the way for all our future meetings when things return to the 'new normal'. In the meantime keep fettling, keep riding and keep safe.
We had our first monthly 'gathering' since lockdown at our new venue, Silton Village Hall on the 10th August. It was also the first time we've held an afternoon get together rather than one in the evening which proved to be popular both in terms of the time we met and the venue which lent itself easily to social distancing outside in what is known to the village as 'the wood barn'. Tea,coffee, squash and cream teas were provided by the ladies and thanks go to Bette, Rachel, Chris and Janet for this. Even our Treasurer was reasonably happy that, by running a raffle and selling cake, the event more than broke even. It also encouraged members to ride their bikes! We are back at Silton on the 14th October (2pm to 5pm) where we can socially distance inside the venue in order to watch a motorcycling related DVD.