760 years of the Seven

OK, so I know the event last weekend at Donington Park celebrated 60, rather than 760 years of the Seven, but it’s how I keep reading the logo. Sorry.

760 years of the Seven

760 (?!) years of the Seven – souvenir programme

In the end I only managed to attend the Friday evening event and joined a run out to Bakewell on the Saturday morning, but very enjoyable it all was. Even the queueing on Friday evening was a great (if a probably unintended) way to break the ice with fellow enthusiasts. I’d like to thank and congratulate the organisers from the Lotus 7 Club – you did an excellent job looking after so many people and their cars.

Friday evening’s event was held in the Donington Collections Museum. It had been some time since I’d last looked around it. The overwhelming impression you get is that they desperately need more space to do full justice to the exhibits. Even so, it’s a fascinating place and the normal entrance fee of £12 for an adult is a bargain.

F1 collection

Just a few cars from the museum’s enormous F1 collection

A Hesketh and a Lola

A Hesketh and Lola displaying some, well, very 1970s sponsorship

Saturday morning saw me return to Donington and join a run out to Bakewell. Unfortunately, as I was too busy looking at the route book and strapping myself in, I headed off last and spent the first few miles of the run playing catch-up. Through a fortuitous piece of satnav lunacy (I took a wrong turning), I eventually caught up with the pack just outside Hulland Ward.

I see you!

I see you!

The weather was perfect and after a brief stop outside Bakewell Showground I had to leave the group and head back home to join the rest of the family for a theatre trip. That was brilliant too (The play that goes wrong, as you’re asking) – even though there wasn’t a Seven in sight.

The gnu and friends at Bakewell

The gnu and friends at Bakewell

I missed all of Sunday as I needed to head ‘up North’ for work. I’m now looking forward to the 70th anniversary. I promise not to double book myself then …

Little darlings: Dealing with watch and wait anxiety

I’m three days away from my regular watch and wait appointment at the hospital, and I’m panicking again. Last time my white blood cell count was low, so I was “promised” another bone marrow biopsy if it hadn’t moved back closer to normal this time. They’re not fun. I can feel myself coming over all unnecessary as I contemplate the prospect. To try to distract myself, I’ve therefore spent the day doing two things I’ve really enjoyed.

This morning I took the gnu (or he took me, not quite sure which!) out along the roads to Carsington Reservoir and back. I even had time to pull into the visitor centre for coffee. That was just after he’d found an impressive turn of speed to overtake a couple of vehicles alongside the dam. There’s clearly nothing wrong with his fuel and exhaust system, unlike that of his driver. He’s a little darling.

Carsington Reservoir

Carsington Reservoir, as seen from the coffee shop

The gnu at Carsington

The gnu, as seen in the car park

The second was being taken on a date to see “Despicable Me 3” this afternoon. Like Mark Kermode I think that the minions can do no wrong. They’re little darlings. Watching them perform the Major-General’s song from The Pirates of Penzance was definitely the highlight of the movie for me. But I admit that I also found the fart gag before the film even started funny. Is that wrong? I even managed to put up with a little shit darling constantly kicking the back of my seat with something approaching good grace. If you were sat in Derby’s Intu Showcase, screen 2, row F, seat 5 for the 1700 screening, it’s you that I’m talking about. Don’t do it again. Ever. The next person you do it to might not be as reasonable as I was. Or enjoying the film as much. Or both.

That was my Sunday. Only three more sleeps until the watch and wait anxiety dissipates again.

RHS Flower Show, Chatsworth

A few photographs from my visit to the RHS Flower Show at Chatsworth. Fortunately the event organisers had resolved the difficulties with car parking and queueing that marred the event earlier on in the week. The showground was muddy, even in the marquees, due to the rain that had fallen. A few more duckboards and places to sit would have been welcome, but for a first attempt it was a very enjoyable day out.

foxgloves

A riot of colour surrounds you everywhere.

Good weather for ducks

Good weather for ducks.

Insect

I, for one, welcome our new insect overlords. After all, they have to be far less obnoxious than the DUP.

River Derwent

The Derwent, pictured from one of the temporary bridges.

Mud

Mud, but no hippopotamuses in sight.

Dandelion

Dandelion sculpture.

Become conscious

Become conscious of the air that surrounds you …

British Celanese Motor Club – Treasure Hunt, March 1965

Here’s a short cine film of the British Celanese Motor Club’s treasure hunt, held on 21st March 1965.

This was one of an annual programme of motoring events that also included paced drives (rallies).

1965 scheduleAs the club was affiliated to the RAC and the events had to be notified to the local police, it all seemed to be taken pretty seriously. There was an intricate scoring system that made allowances for participants being unable to take part in some events due to work commitments.

Scoring system

This treasure hunt started from the Manor Road Service Station on the A5111 ring road in Derby. I think the garage has long since vanished, but looking at the stills it would seem to have been somewhere near where the Argosy is today.

Manor Road Service Station Manor Road A5111We next see the competitors in Kirk Langley turning right onto Flagshaw Lane. Except – the turning doesn’t look anything like that as far as I can work out. Unless I’m in the wrong place, of course … in which case I’m only going to score one point for a non-finish! Langley MillThe scenes get progressively snowier and more ‘interesting’ to drive, with the competitors finally reaching Tansley in the Peak District. Scotland Nurseries is still going strong today.

TansleyThe treasure hunt finishes at the Celanese Sports & Social Club on Borrowash road, having first turned right across the A52 from Derby to get there. That’s not been legally possible (thankfully) for many, many years!

Borrowash RoadA sprint finish into the social club with the completed check sheets to end.

Celanese Sports ClubContestantEndUnfortunately I can’t find a record of the winner of this particular event in my father’s BCMC files, which are in good order up until the end of 1964. I suspect that my recent arrival may have distracted him somewhat.

The Beast of Bolsover

As the weather was better than expected today, an excursion to Bolsover resulted. The castle, managed by English Heritage, is fascinating. Sir William Cavendish’s riding school, dating from the 1600s, is possibly one of the reasons why Great Britain is so good at the Olympic sport of dressage horse dancing today. The little castle is beautifully preserved, and its wall paintings are unique survivors from the pre civil war era.

The Little Castle, BolsoverI can’t recommend a visit heartily enough, especially as since the last time I went sometime in the 1990s they’ve opened a visitor centre and cafe. The cherry scone was great and the coffee will definitely put hairs on your chest. Which is perhaps just as well. For at the bottom of the Venus fountain lurks a shocking sight. The Beast of Bolsover, no less. Please look away now if you’re of a nervous disposition.

The Beast of BolsoverDon’t say that I didn’t warn you!

Two to three hours is plenty of time to walk around the castle and grounds at a reasonable pace. An excellent video guide is provided as part of the £10.20 (adult) / £6.10 (child) entrance fee. Grown-up and family friendly commentaries are available.

B5023 Duffield to Cowers Lane

While Italy were busy losing at rugby, I decided to take Gnu out for a run around the Derbyshire countryside. The day was overcast, but warm enough for me to manage with just a fleece, scarf and the heating. This was the most enjoyable stretch of the route – three and a half minutes of B road twistyness between Duffield and Cowers Lane.

I didn’t even bother to stop for the bargain bacon …

Carsington eight: a Seven driving route

Here’s an enjoyable driving route around Mid Derbyshire. Especially on a cold but sunny Saturday in February in a Caterham 7. What other way is there to travel?

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My route map is below, just in case anyone is interested in replicating the experience. I can recommend Kedleston Hall, Carsington Water’s Visitor Centre and Middleton Top as places to visit on this route if you’re not in a hurry …

Caterham 7 ownership – 3 months in

Towards the end of August, I realised a long-held ambition of becoming a Caterham 7 owner. Six months earlier, I’d walked into the Bookatrack dealership at Donington Park, specified a yellow 270S (series V, as I’m too big to fit comfortably in an S3), paid my deposit and walked away, hoping to forget all about it until I’d safely completed my MSc. I couldn’t, naturally. Time that I should have devoted to my research was spent clearing out the garage and building a shed.

By the time I take the 7 back for its 3 month checkup this weekend, I will have covered a little over 600 miles, mostly on short trips in and around Derbyshire. It will then stay tucked up in its hutch over the winter as I’m led to believe that road salt and aluminium don’t mix all that well. I’ll be counting the days off on the calendar until it’s safe to emerge again.

After I’d ordered the car, I decided to splash out on a personalised registration for it. This is something I’ve always sworn that I’d never do, primarily because people who buy them and then deliberately misrepresent the mark are one of my pet hates. But, in for a penny, in for a pound I suppose. The C7 part of the registration chose itself, but the letters – GNU – go back to my very first car. A yellow Skoda S110L.

GNU 706N

Gnu I

I’m hoping that the colour will be the only thing they share, as gnu I was temperamental, to say the least. I remember the pain of the breakdowns (usually in really inconvenient places, like the hard shoulder of the M1 at 1am or in the middle of the Severn Bridge), the first time someone ran into me and the police coming to see me when something unsavoury had been stuck onto his rear window. But I also remember him with a great deal of affection – something I’ve not really felt about a car until gnu II arrived.

Gnu II has so far proved to be reliable, even if I’ve been slow in learning to use a clutch properly again, causing much hilarity at traffic lights. The lack of driver aids and the occasional feeling of being ever so slightly out of control at times definitely adds to the fun – and reminds me, in a good way, of gnu I. Anyway, I’m sure you’re more likely to be interested in pictures of gnu II than gnu I, so here are some from our recent adventures

Gnu II - Ashbourne, November 2016

On the road between Leek and Ashbourne last weekend

At Mercia Marina

At Mercia Marina

Looking through the windscreen (complete with dead fly) over Kedleston Hall's parkland

Looking through the windscreen (complete with dead fly) over Kedleston Hall’s parkland

Gnu II has been a great introduction to Caterham 7 ownership. I grin stupidly every time I get behind the wheel and start him up. I’m looking forward to continuing our adventures in 2017 – which will hopefully include the North Coast 500.

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