April saw our next major outing of the year and for many clubs throughout the country as it was National Drive It Day, the intention being to show the wider public that our vintage and classic cars are not just for show or languishing in garages and museums but still capable of driving across the breadth of the land decades after they were built.
It was miserable weather on Sunday 26th April but undeterred fifteen cars set off from the old Rayne railway station. It stayed dry though and through the picturesque villages of north Essex we drove to probably the county’s most photographed one; that of Finchingfield for our own photo shoot. What’s good about going out on Drive it Day is passing other clubs out too and we waved and tooted as a convoy of Triumph Stags passed in the opposite direction.
Eventually we made our way along the rural lanes around Thaxted and to the old market town of Dunmow where we had pre-booked for a Sunday lunch. Some other members arrived in their Austins and MGs having devised their own route and a party of nearly sixty sat down to a welcome roast carvery.
Feeling replete after the meal we all headed off in various direction for home with waves and smiles to onlookers, amazed at the number of vintage cars passing through their town.
A wet day was in store for one of May’s outings to the Museum of Power at Langford near Maldon for their classic car show and we joined plenty of other classics, vintage and even veteran cars for a display to entice the general public. There is always plenty of interest here however and besides the fascinating exhibits in the pumping station were stalls and displays from steam rollers to steam puddings. Such a shame for the organisers when it is raining but we all enjoyed ourselves nevertheless.
Another show in May always attracts a good handful of our members and that is the Blackwater Country Show. With the demise of the Essex County show years ago which slowly morphed into a commercial retail show, there are a few genuine rural country shows around Essex and this is one of them. Close to the Blackwater estuary, the rolling site with fishing lakes makes an ideal venue. Our group of eight Austins joined an eclectic mix of later cars to create a diversion from the other displays of agricultural plant, sailing craft, Newfoundland water dogs demonstrating rescue techniques, to wood turners, Shire horses and birds of prey hooded to prevent them eyeing up the racing ferrets. A great show with something of interest for everyone.
Though we love to do runs throughout our beautiful county discovering yet more rural lanes awash with mud or with grass growing down the middle, the summer months always have a profusion of shows that we get invited to. Cressing Temple between Braintree and Witham stage various events during the year and in July we were invited to display our cars at one of their shows. Rubys, Boxes, Pearls, Nippys, Chummys plus non Sevens from our club that included a Lichfield, a Ten, a Riley and even a veteran Alldays and Onions joined hundreds of other cars and motorbikes for a great classic car show. Jazz bands and jive music and dancers kept everyone entertained and enquiries from the crowds about our cars resulted in a few possible new members. After all, who cannot be charmed by an Austin Seven?