Boats, planes, automobiles and a few in-between…

Sorry it’s been a while since we posted but life has rather caught up and we’ve been rather busy. Anyway as well as working hard we have had some time for some fun with and without Mario, so hopefully we’ll catch up with it all here soon…

A few weeks ago we were invited to join friends at the Henley Classic Boat Festival. We’ve been before and it was a lot of fun so we were rather disappointed when the weather forecast showed heavy rain all day! They were wrong though and it was a beautiful English summer day and decidedly hot in the afternoon. Not going to say too much other than there aren’t many better ways to spend a Sunday than bobbing along in a beautiful boat with a glass of champagne!DSC03112 DSC03116Not sure what you call a bike for two (tandem) with three wheels (Tricycle)?

DSC03119I loved this bicycle that looked like a scooter, wouldn’t it look great painted like Mario and Cynthia, trouble is the information said it was one of three known to exist.

DSC03122 Our friends boot is a slipper launch, these beautiful highly varnished wooden boats from the 1930’s have sloping backs into the water and often have Llloyd Loom chairs.DSC03124There was a minor panic at lunchtime as one of the slipper launches slipped it’s mooring and started drifting down the Thames. We managed eventually to get the attention of one of the safety boats which came to the rescue.
DSC03135DSC03158While lounging in the boat having a fabulous lunch and a glass of bubbly we were also treated to an acrobatic air display.DSC03164 DSC03172 DSC03173 The entered boats parade in classes up the Henley Regatta course which gives everybody an opportunity to see them and listen to some commentary.DSC03162The ‘working’ boat class – not sure the small child hanging on the back of the Coracle was having that much fun!DSC03179 DSC03182 DSC03184 A popular class is the Dunkirk little ships, they sailed past with Sea Cadets standing to attention and a Dunkirk veteran on board.
DSC03192 DSC03194 DSC03197 Steam BoatsDSC03199 DSC03200 DSC03201 DSC03233 One of the exciting exhibits was a chance to see the Gloriana – the 94 ft long Royal barge commissioned for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee and which lead the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant.DSC03250 DSC03260

DSC03279Lots of ‘boat’ stalls also took part – this boatbuilder had constructed this beautiful slipper launch and in it’s amazingly luxurious interior included this pull out draw with a picnic set.

There were also classic cars in attendance, although somehow I managed to not take any photos of most of them!  This is a proper ‘boat tail’ constructed by boat builders.DSC03277On display on land and in water were a collection of Amphibious vehicles, shame Mario isn’t watertight.
DSC03142DSC03281 DSC03282 DSC03283 DSC03285 DSC03286 DSC03131The Gloriana was the big star of the show and it was great being able to look at it up close, the workmanship was stunning if a touch bling! The oars were amazing, each one painted with an oriental styled dragon/fish.DSC03289 DSC03290 DSC03294 DSC03295 DSC03296The only disappointment of the day was that Bluebird K3, one of Malcolm Campbell’s water speed record powerboats, that was supposed to be on display in the water only came to the event on the back of a transporter – a small fire the day before meant it had to be taken out of the water for repair and unfortunately the crane wasn’t available to put it back in. It would have been great to have seen it, although I doubt that it would have been allowed to attempt the record breaking 130mph it travelled in 1938!
IMG_6541Next up the Silverstone Classic and then Thoroughbred Sunday Breakfast Club – with Mario on the grid…


A classic holiday…

For a number of reasons we haven’t had a ‘proper’ holiday for a while and so we decided (rather last minute) to relive our childhoods and have a week in Looe in South East Cornwall where we had both spent fun holidays in the distant past. Of course, classic holidays require Classic transport and so set off at the end of August in ‘Regie’ the 1958 Renault 4cv convertible.DSC05033

Regie is pretty good at holidays and previously we have taken him all over Europe, for a small car he’s pretty spacious and with only two of us there is the back seat as well as under the bonnet so carrying luggage isn’t an issue. The car has been upgraded to a Dauphine Gordini engine and ‘box giving us 4 forward gears and 850cc (50hp at the wheels) in a very light vehicle so we can cruise at a sensible speed and keep up with modern traffic. Of course the important thing for holidays is that Regie is a ‘decoverable’ as the French would say – it has side windows but the whole roof is soft top and folds right back giving all the benefits of a convertible but also a lot of protection from the wind. You also get a good view.

It’s around 210 miles from our home in Surrey to Looe and we set off on a Saturday lunchtime and took the more ‘country’ A30 route – Winchester, Salisbury, Shaftsbury, Sherbourne, Crewkerne, Exeter and then the A38 via Plymouth to Looe. With a couple of stops and a good run we arrived by teatime.

We had booked an apartment high on the cliff at Hannofore point which had a fantastic view but the choice of location was down to the property having parking, Regie ended up with an even better lookout with the parking space being 57 steps up behind the property.DSC05208Regie behaved perfectly all week, going up and down the steep winding Cornish Hills and his small size made him perfect for the tiny high banked lanes and the even smaller roads through Cornish towns and villages. We attracted attention wherever we went with lots of scratching of heads and questioning ‘what is it’. Being small and cute we could park in places others couldn’t and Regie was left in prime spots on the Quay on several occasions.DSC05540DSC05044DSC05817DSC05912DSC05775DSC05502DSC05518DSC05521DSC05522DSC05885DSC05909We went on adventures everyday and visited loads of places – Polperro, Fowey, Padstow, St Michaels Mount, St Ives, Plymouth often travelling across country on the the very tiny rural roads, you get a chance to see unusual things and the time difference isn’t that different from the main route. We came across this really low bridge…

DSC05067 DSC05071 Went for a ride on a steam train, which scarily was rather like the carriages we used to commute to London in…DSC05158We only had one damp day but did go up onto Dartmoor (to see the Prison Museum) where it was rather murky, it was the only time we had the roof up all week.
DSC05413 DSC05417 Went on the ferry across to Fowey, which had a much better view than the Torpoint Ferry to Plymouth where we were very hemmed in by large vehicles… DSC05449 DSC05450 DSC05451 DSC05453IMG_0572 Over to St Michaels Mount, Regie was left on dry land and we walked over the causeway at low tide, we saw this great amphibious vehicle but you certainly wouldn’t want to buy a second hand vehicle which had been used on the island, we saw a 5 year old land rover which was really rusty!DSC05462 DSC05469 DSC05480We had a fantastic week which proves it’s not always a bad thing to go back to somewhere you have good childhood memories off. The great weather certainly helped and going just after the summer rush meant that places were relatively quiet. Unfortunately we didn’t see very many classic cars and there doesn’t seem to be any sort of motor museum in Cornwall. We came back along the A303 past Stonehenge which is a much faster road although it can get very busy and Regie just purred along happily, he really is a perfect holiday car.DSC05956So we got back safe and sound and although sad to leave our glorious view and end our holiday we have the Goodwood Revival to look forward to this coming weekend where Regie and Mario will be in their normal role as part of the period taxi fleet driving ViP’s and drivers around the estate. We will hopefully be blogging as we go, so keep checking back. Now I must dash and finish off this years special ‘Mario’ dress, here’s a sneak peak at the material…IMG_1230