Bentley Drivers Club picnic.

After the sad loss of our wonderful dog my wife encouraged me to join my friends from the Bentley Drivers Club for a picnic at RHS Hyde Hall garden to take my mind off things and very good fun it was too.

The weather was changeable during the day from brilliant sunshine to fairly rainy and windy which may explain my rather unkempt appearance in the hair department, perhaps I should have used some gentleman’s hair wax to keep things more under control.

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Always nice to chat to your friends and to meet up again with others that you have met previously when at the Goodwood Revival in previous years.

I was delighted with my picnic table, including the cucumber sandwiches which my wife made for me and Mr Kipling for the fondant fancies, not up to Fortnum and Mason standards but sufficient to win a prize for picnic of the day!

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Goodbye Theo.

Yesterday we had to say goodbye to our dog Theo who was the most wonderful dog in the world and I loved him to death.

He was the daftest dog sometimes and yet the cleverest, he could tell you he wanted a biscuit or he wanted to go and do a tiddle, or it was time for dinner.

We took him to have his hair cut the day before and he seemed a bit reluctant to go but he usually comes back full of the joys of spring and walks about with his majestic walk as if to say, “look at me, how smart am I?”

This time however he didn’t have his usual spark and was having more trouble than usual walking, his arthritic back leg seemed a little worse and he was having trouble with his front leg.

We knew this time was coming but you hate to have to admit it, he lay on his chair and was very subdued and during the next day he became quieter and started showing signs that he was in pain.

Having phoned the vet and made the appointment we stayed with him talking to him and stroking him until it was time to go.

I thought he would be unable to walk into the vets but when we got there he did his best and walked in with dignity and piddled on the floor by the reception desk, well if you have style it’s always good to announce your arrival with flair.

We were with him all the time and he went very quickly and quietly and I burst into tears, I’m not very good at the stiff upper lip thing.

What a majestic dog he was, he had a good life and a long life amongst people who loved him and you can’t ask for much more than that.

Goodbye Theo, we love you. xx

THEO LAST PHOTO 3

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Apollo 11 Moon Landing.

With it being 50 years since the Apollo 11 Moon landing, I thought it might be a good time to enter into the spirit of the event and celebrate by purchasing one of these T shirts.

American Images White T-Shirt Front

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Woodhall Spa Forties Weekend.

I went with my wife to the Woodhall Spa Forties Weekend and what a fabulous time we had, the entire village enters into the spirit of the thing and everyone was extremely friendly.

Here are a few images from the weekend, the first being the wife and I.

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There was an eclectic collection of vintage vehicles on display from cars to motorcycles to military vehicles, I took my 1947 Bentley as it was right for the period. It was parked in the Broadway both days but I seem to have not taken a photo!

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I went inside this rather splendid car and caravan combination and spoke to the owner, I’d love to have one but I’m not sure about towing it with an old car although he said he did.

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A couple more photos of the interesting vehicles on display.

There was a small army of military types including small tanks and other tracked vehicles.

The military parade on the Sunday was rather splendid too.

There were chaps encamped in the woods which looked fabulous but personally we stayed at The Branston Hall Hotel, the house being originally built for Lord Vere Bertie, son of the first Duke of Ancaster, it later passed to the Leslie-Melville family and was a hospital during the war. It was a rather splendid building both outside and inside and I have to admit was considerably more comfortable than the option of sleeping in a damp tent in the wood. You have to admire the commitment of these military re-enacters.

Unfortunately my abilities with my phone to take photos are not up to the job of capturing a decent video image of the splendid Battle of Britain Memorial flight which did us the honour of flying over on both days. The first day it was the turn of the Lancaster and Spitfire and the second, a Hurricane and the Lancaster again. The Lancaster was so low I was expecting the two search lights to come on underneath as it must have been low enough for a run in to the dams in the Ruhr valley.

All in all a bloody brilliant weekend and one we intend to repeat next year.

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The RREC Concours at Burghley House.

I have been very busy since my last trip and have had no time to post anything so this will be a very quick one, at least the post will be very short, however uploading the photos took bloody ages.

As usual the phone or the computer has changed something without asking me, I used to send photos from my phone and they would appear in my in box but now they remain in the sent box. Now call me old fashioned but I would have thought that if I have something appearing in the sent box I would expect it to also appear where I sent it, at least that’s what happens if I send something to myself from my computer, why the phone has a mind of its own I have no idea!

Anyway, getting to the point we went to the Rolls Royce Enthusiasts Club Concours at Burghley House which also includes Bentley’s, here is a photo to prove it.

We had a fabulous weekend meeting friends chatting and generally enjoying ourselves.

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For good measure a photo of Burghley House!

 

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Harrowgate steam railway trip.

Three weeks ago we went on a steam railway trip to Harrowgate but I have been so busy that I have not had the time to post details on this blog.

We took the 1947 Bentley and dressed in forties outfits as it seemed appropriate for an old steam train trip except that it was pouring with rain on the way up and the wipers on the car ceased to work which made for an interesting journey.

On my return I found that the cable that goes from the wiper motor to the wiper gearbox had broken and they are not available any more and having no luck sourcing a second hand one means I am going to have to get it repaired, unless any of my readers are classic Bentley owners and just happen to have a spare cable for a Mk VI stashed away in the back of their garage.

The itinerary was more hectic than expected and involved getting up at the crack of sparrows each day, something the wife and I do not excel at and rushing back to the hotel for dinner at 6pm which then left plenty of time for drinks in the bar afterwards which did nothing to help our early start in the morning.

The Hotel was called The Old Swan and was the hotel which Agatha Christie stayed at when she disappeared for 11 days in  1926, it was a fashionable spa hotel which was called The Harrowgate Hydro and included Turkish baths.

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On our first trip we travelled by rail, unfortunately not by steam to York for a tour of the town and a look round the National Railway Museum which included the wonderful Mallard the fastest ever steam train.

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Our next trip was a coach trip to the North Yorkshire Moors Railway which some of you may have seen currently featuring on television, in fact as we were on the platform a train drew into the station with a well know actor, (I think from Eastenders) on the footplate, I expect footage will appear in a later edition of the TV programme.

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During our train trip we stopped at Goathland the station used in the television programme Heartbeat and we visited the village where the garage used in the programme is now a gift shop which seemed a good opportunity for a photo.

The fellow who was running the shop then proceeded to tell me how the entire village had been used as background artists for the eighteen years of the run of the show which to someone like myself, a card carrying member of Equity the actors union didn’t go down too well as in those days they were only supposed to use Equity members on any television show. I was tempted to tell him where to put his fridge magnets and it wouldn’t have been on the fridge door. The rest of the day was spent in Whitby and then back to the hotel again.

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The following day we went on the Keighley and Worth Valley railway, famous as the place where they shot The Railway Children and included a trip round the engine shed where we saw the actual train used in the film under restoration.

I have to admit it was a complete mistake but it seems I have managed to make a video of our visit to the engine shed and the Bronte Parsonage complete with music but I have absolutely no idea how it happened.

We continued on to Haworth, home of the Bronte Parsonage where the Bronte sisters lived and were most surprised when we arrived to be faced with the view from the top of the hill, having seen it numerous times especially at Christmas and not realising where the image came from.

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I’m very glad we chose to visit the Parsonage rather than walk down the hill through the village  which would have necessitated the climbing of the very steep hill on the way back.

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Back to the hotel for our final night and then home in the morning still without wipers for a well earned rest. I must mention the part played by Robert our tour manager who was pleasant, helpful and informative and was a pleasure to be with.

I am running a little behind with my posts recently as we have since been away for a trip with the Rolls Royce Enthusiast Club but more of that later!

 

 

 

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The D Day Victoria Cross.

I was away when it was D Day so didn’t get the chance to post anything but when I got back I found this amazing story on the Imperial War Museum web site.

 

THE D-DAY VICTORIA CROSS
Stan Hollis performed two acts of heroism that won him the only Victoria Cross awarded on D-Day. 

Hollis was Company Sergeant Major of one of the first battalions to reach Gold Beach on D-Day. He was no stranger to combat. By 1944, he’d fought at Dunkirk, El Alamein and the Battle for Primasole Bridge.

Hollis was thirty-one years old on D-Day. He was in charge of three machine gun and three mortar teams. He was one of the most experienced men in his unit, and many younger soldiers looked up to him.

It was at a house that overlooked the beach where Hollis performed the first of two heroic acts to win him the Victoria Cross.

When the lead platoons passed the house, they came under fire from a machine gun hidden in a pillbox. In response, Hollis charged around thirty yards over open ground, whilst under fire, stuck his sten gun into the pillbox slit and emptied the magazine.

Hollis then lay on top of the pillbox and dropped a grenade inside. He jumped down and entered, and took the surviving occupants prisoner. He then saw a slit trench leading away to a second pillbox in the garden of the house.

He advanced down the trench alone, captured the fortification and all those in it. In all, he captured 30 Germans single-handed.

Commandos of HQ 4th Special Service Brigade, coming ashore from LCI(S) landing craft on Nan Red beach, Juno area, at St Aubin-sur-Mer, 6 June 1944.

Later that day, at around 11am, Hollis performed the second act of heroism which contributed to the D-Day Victoria Cross.

He spotted a German field gun hidden in a hedge, and decided to try and destroy it. Accompanied by two machine-gunners, he crawled through a rhubarb patch to get close enough to the artillery piece.

However, he missed and the gun turned and fired on them. Miraculously, it fired high over their heads. Hollis shouted to the men with him to get back to a farm building they could use for cover.

Unfortunately, the men either hadn’t heard him or were too afraid to run. He felt that it was his responsibility the men were in trouble, and sought to get them to safety.

Hollis took a Bren gun and advanced into the open, firing from the hip in plain sight to attract the attention of the enemy field gun team. His comrades ran back from the rhubarb patch to cover. Astoundingly, even though he was standing in sight of the enemy, Hollis was not hit.

The Victoria Cross recognises acts of extreme bravery carried out under direct enemy fire. Stan Hollis was the only serviceman to be awarded the Victoria Cross on D-Day for his gallantry during the allied invasion of Normandy on 6 June 1944.

Discover more stories in our D-Day interactive.

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