The Shropshire Vintage & Classic Motorcycle Show & Auto jumble.
Sunday 30th March. 2008.
Here we are again. The end of March and time for a little foray into the Shropshire countryside for the show at Wistanstow. Considering the weather yesterday, constant torrential rain from about dinner time onwards, it was a gamble on whether we would be going or not, but first thing Sunday morning saw the sun happily shining through the window. For once, I'd even managed to remember to put my clock forwards by an hour, so ten o'clock saw me and Andy making single cylinder noises, well, the bikes were making the noise, we just sort of encouraged 'em a bit. Andy was on the ever faithful BSA Starfire and I was on board the Enfield Bullet, which just happened to be sporting the very panniers that I bought from Wistanstow last year. The plan was to make sure we had enough carrying capacity just in case anything caught our eye - I was on the lookout for some B33 flywheels, and possibly a late B31 cylinder head. Come to think of it, those things alone probably weigh more than the Bullet.
We took the 'normal' route, calling in at the cafe in Craven Arms for a cuppa and a quick nibble. Due to all the rain yesterday, parking was on the tarmac only. To me, there didn't seem half as many folks there this year as there were last year. Maybe the rain yesterday put 'em off. I did notice Bruce's Norton Big Four, sitting there in all its glory. I also noticed an old Triumph single, which looked set to beat Bruce's Norton in the "well used" stakes. Ah, now if only I still had my M21 outfit, that'd show 'em.
We met up with fellow Moonshiners, John and Wendy, and continued nosing around the various bikes and bits of bikes that were on display. Hmm - more old BSA bits. You can never have enough old BSA bits, or so I've been told. Ooh look, a set of M21 crankcase halves.
Having done all the wandering and looking that we wanted to, plans were laid to meet up with John and Wendy later on at the Raven Cafe. They in turn would be bringing another two "lost souls" in the shape of Nigel and Pauline, who, for some reason were running a tad late. Andy and myself set off for the top of the Long Mynd, which is almost compulsory whenever we happen to be in this area. Must be something about single cylinder bikes and steep hills. The top of the Mynd was a bit chilly and damp, but the view was worth a bit of temporary discomfort.
We dropped down the far side of the Long Mynd and headed for Shrewsbury. Then it was a bit of a ride along the A49 to the Raven Cafe for a well earned cuppa and some dinner. Well, it would have been a cuppa and dinner if the cafe had been open. It seems they close at three o'clock on a Sunday - and we just happened to arrive at ten past. Ah well, at least the petrol station was open so we fed the bikes instead. Our next port of call was the Haberdasher's Arms. Now we knew the other four would be heading for this place, so we decided to sit and wait for 'em. I mean, what better place is there to wait ? Sure enough, within fifteen minutes the others turned up. We sat and decided on our next move, which seemed to involve looking at a field. Yep, flat, covered in grass, that's a field all right - trust me, I've seen one before. Having had our quota of field watching, we decided it was time to make a move towards home. Up till now, the weather had been kind to us, but the cloud monster seemed to be lurking over towards Newport - and that was the very way were heading. We didn't have all that much rain, only about ten miles or so, and by the time we passed Cosford air museum the sun was out and the roads were dry once again. The rest of the journey went without a hitch, and as we rode though Wolverhampton we waved farewell to our four fellow Moonshiners. To make up for the cafe being closed, I treated myself to kebab meat on naan bread - and most enjoyable it was too. I must admit, there's something about riding a four stroke single. I love the sound, the feel, the general simplicity of it all. When all's said and done, spending the day riding a bike you like, in the company of friends, through some of England's finest countryside, has to be one of life's pleasures - despite anything the weather cares to throw at you.
Until the next time - - - -