I must first apologise for not writing anything sooner but I have always dreaded putting pen to paper (or should that now be digit to button) and will attempt to find anything to do rather than spend a few minutes composing, but as the temperature in the workshop drops below 3 degrees the warmth of the living room seems to be a better option. so here we go.
Looking back over the year I can say it has been very enjoyable with the rallies I have attended being fortunate enough to have had good weather which makes the getting on and off the rally site hassle free – always a matter of concern for us roller owners! The Aveling has covered some 200 miles under its own steam without complaining, unlike some of the motorists behind us. Our season started with a little rally just outside Henley; this was a first time event but, with the hosts being Lord & Lady Mc Alpine, you just knew the event was going to be something special. Those of you that attended either as a visitor or a exhibitor were treated to spectacular show consisting of some of the best examples of preservation. With the added attraction of a standard gauge railway making some of the best chimney music you have ever heard coming up a cliff face off an incline into the station. This event is being put on again next year in celebration of Lady Mc Alpine’s Birthday and I would recommend it to you all as an excellent weekend out.
If I did not have enough things to keep me occupied the opportunity came about to purchase Boz Oram’s Thames Trader Lorry as he had decided that the mechanical Organ which was mounted on the back would be better placed on a more modern form of conveyance; one that had springs that actually moved, an engine that could be relied on to start and brakes that showed some potential of at least slowing the vehicle down. Last Winter / Spring at Mr Marder’s yard Boz achieved the successful transplant of the old organ to the now much modified new lorry, which I must say turned out to be a very well thought out set up with even a crew cab offering the potential of sleeping quarters. As Boz was rebuilding his lorry I was busy taking his old lorry apart. I intend to convert this into a mobile stage which Boz was fully in favour of, pleased that the vehicle would still be in the entertainment business. Over the years the Thames Trader had seen many repairs to the body work and although it look good from the outside what held it all together needed some serious looking at. As Boz used the vehicle as a means of conveyance for his much loved organ and not as a preserved vehicle as such he would have been the first to admit that some of the repairs were not to the highest standard. This was demonstrated as I bit the bullet and decide to cut out and replace the support box section that the wings bolt onto. The cutting disc made short work of the remaining steel, a cloud of white dust issued forth as it passed through a dense patch of body filler then it refused to proceed any further. As Boz was in the yard I popped down to see him and ask what could be so tough that a steel cutting disc would not pass through it? He duly came up to the vehicle and looked at the section I was trying to cut out and, with his usual impish grin, stated as a matter of fact that it would be the piece of slate tile that he had used to fill in the hole – no more needed to be said! It was with great sadness that we learned of Boz’s untimely death – I for one will miss sharing with him the restoration of what will always be Boz’s old Organ truck.
I can’t sign off without thanking all of you that supported the Club’s dinner; this proved to be a most enjoyable event with an excellent meal followed by a well supported raffle and the opportunity to meet and talk to many people.
Keep an eye on the website to keep up with the upcoming topics for the Winter meetings, If this cold weather continues I may even be tempted to put pen to paper again – why not submit an article of your own as I am sure now the rally season is over there are a few stories to tell.