Isle of Man 27th - 29th May 2005
Another weekend in the Life of JRE932'
I am a mature fun loving lady and I was 66 years old in April 2005 After a pretty quiet winter, except for having a new Luvac shock absorber fitted following a very cold Christmas outing with some of my friends, I had my dust cover removed, was taken out of my garage and given a good cleaning. Next it was off to a man-kind garage called "Andy's" for a full service and inspection, in preparation for my annual MOT. It turned out that I was OK but I don't like my private parts being violated by men-kind wearing rubber gloves and boiler suits - nor would you! After overhearing conversations and telephone calls about a future event and mention of the Isle of Man, my mind immediately recalled a situation last year when I was taken from my garage, totally overloaded and ferried via Liverpool to that said island, where I was subjected to the breathtaking experience of circuiting the TT course as fast as I could go. Well, I have hardly recovered since - the Manx TT course is not really for such as me, but for our two-wheeled cousins specially designed for such a demanding event. Could you believe how I felt when I realised that this was going to happen again!
It was on 27thMay at 7-15am that I left home followed by my young great granddaughter LIL4072, wearing her yellow summer frock - a bit tarty that one if you ask me! Off on our way to Tarlton, to meet with several other friends at a man-kind fuelling station which had a distinct smell of the Far East. Liverpool was our destination, Pier Head being the seaport of the Isle of Man Ferry.
We had to wait for quite some time but eventually our ferry arrived, a modern ship, not propeller driven as I am acquainted with, no steam boilers and black smoke funnels but quite clean and fast - whatever will they think of next? Loading commenced without problem until BHG 72R caught his nether regions on a steel ramp causing some damage to his exhaust system. Poor fellow, there he was looking ever so forlorn in his lovely red sports sweater with his tail pipe in the boot. Mind you, I did hear that his mother had an affair with an Italian - a twin cam one I believe and you know how low slung they can be! As if this was not enough BHJ 141J did something similar fortunately in this case nothing came adrift but it did leave him with a throaty cough with continued throughout the weekend.
Our arrival in Douglas came without further ado. BHG 72R was taken to a garage for some emergency repairs, the rest of us went of to the Mount Murray Hotel car park, where we had to sit and wait for our owners whilst they checked in and drank orange juice and champagne. 2-30 pm saw our arrival at the Pits area and starting point of the T T Circuit (please God not again!!). We were met by some members of the Isle of Man M G Club two of them were the Jaguar variety of car, E Types I think they are called, one dressed in red one in blue, bespoke suits with matching accessories, very suave!. Also there was a comfortable Midget and a brand new T F straight from the labour ward. We all smiled for the photographers, including a "press man", as we lined up in the Pit lane in a pseudo Le-Mans start configuration, my poor old Luvacs and wooden frame were trembling at the thought of it. I heard the human-kind asking who wanted to drive fast led by the fore mentioned red E Type and those who wanted a leisurely journey accompanied by the fledgling blue T F. Thank God I was to be with the latter. When eventually the bonnet of TWP 150L was finally closed (I say this because this bonnet has been up and down more than the old adage about a certain item of underwear worn (or not) by a particular species of female human kind), we set off from the Pits towards Quarter Bridge and hence the T T course. Traffic signals were a problem, not encountered by our two wheeled cousins, when racing, but with Douglas behind us we sped our way through Union Mills, Crosby and St Johns almost reaching 40 mph. St Johns to Kirk Michael passed in a flash of about 10 mins. And then Sulby to Ramsey took quite some time, in fact so long, that KFR 714N had to pull in to let her driver find a public loo. Oh! For goodness sake that damned hairpin, I remember it well from last year, if only the idiot at my wheel could forget synchromesh and get double de clutch into his thick head we could possibly have saved 3 seconds and a gear box rebuild. What a drag up that mountain! - sea level to 2000 ft straight climb hot and smelly we passed YFC 557L pulled up in a lay by probably for the same reason as KFR 714N had stopped in Ramsey, but finally we reached the summit. Here we came upon NBW 244P having what appeared to be an intimate conversation with suave blue E Type and we stopped for a few minutes, hoping that we didn't interrupt anything, to adjust for altitude and cool off a little. Down the mountain "free wheely", must try the brakes, past Creg-ny-Baa and on to Hillberry. Approaching Signpost corner we saw the owner of XGT 832G waiting to take yet more photographs, I smile and think of XGT 832G parked a little way down the road hoping she isn't out of sight of the owner in case she finishes up on bricks with her lovely spokes in the back of a Transit van.
The chequered flag was in sight, we arrived at the finish where lots of M Gs are waiting, some, however, have already gone being both uncomfortable with the rather cold end of May summer weather and bored with the late arrival of the back markers. Personally I didn't think we did too bad although my time was a good 14 minutes 56 seconds longer than my previous attempt which is only 3 minutes shorter than the full lap time of a certain John McGuinness riding one of our two wheeled cousins.
So back to Mount Murray where we all parked up with tonneau secured, doors locked and a brief visual inspection from our owners who then, en bloc, disappeared into the hotel bar. It was noted that one rather sweet little lady in blue WTF 848D took rather longer than the others at putting to bed, no tonneau, but frames, side windows and a "hood" - whatever are we coming to? I do hope they don't drive her like that! How embarrassing for the poor little thing. We all heard the merry making sounds emanating from the bar which after a short break continued until the early hours - we were all fast asleep by this time.
Saturday morning brought rain and strong gale force winds. I would have been quite happy to stay in my space on the car park but at 10-15 am off we went on a sight seeing tour. Magical walkie-talkie systems were installed in four cars so that we could all keep in touch with one another and drive in convoy. Through Ballasalla and past the Castletown Golf Club across a narrow causeway and on the Derby Island. I have been here many times before but never in these weather conditions, nevertheless we assembled in some sort of order whilst more photographs were taken. Two human-kinds parked along side in a modern type shooting brake were taken aback as they saw us arrive; it must have seemed like a sudden "Panzer" invasion which disturbed their bird watching. However they thoroughly enjoyed the spectacle and took a full group photograph of all of us with our owners. We waved them goodbye and then on our way through Castletown to Port St. Mary (two laps especially for those who didn't see it the first time) actually a navigational error. Cregneash, one short lap of this working craft centre village with its thatched cottages, then back on to the 'main road' to the Calf-of-Man. Lots of room for parking, superb views and a very nice visitor centre/cafe, where all of our owners sheltered from the blowing gale and enjoyed themselves by refuelling at their leisure. After an hour or so all emerged and guess what? - you got it! Another photo call! Much shunting into position I got my rear end stuffed into a grass bank but eventually we were all in photographic order and the photographers set about their duties. I was parked along side GVU 281V a rather sporty young man wearing red sports gear. He had had quite a lot of cosmetic surgery (all the rage these days I believe) but it has left him with bulging wings just like Dizzie Gillespie's cheeks when reaching top E.
At 1-30pm we left the Calf having been collected by yesterday's suave blue E type owner this time a resplendent in another blue vehicle. I think it was of German origin but we don't want to talk about that - do we? Our route now was back to Port St Mary Golf Club where we met with some of the Isle of Man human-kind who had devised a route of torture, for our pleasure or otherwise, in the afternoon. It was noticeable that they didn't arrive in their well-tried Midget but in a saloon car, the excuse being that they had brought a dog! Personally I am not too fond of dogs having experienced on many occasions, as I am sure most of you have, being used as a public toilet resulting in sticky spokes. However the details of the route of torture, or as they preferred to call it, a tulip run were handed out to all the owners who sat in their seats and the head scratching commenced. "NO MILEAGE IS GIVEN!" Well I must say that I have been on more Tulip runs than most of the others have had hot washes and leathering offs but such confusion I have never previously encountered. Undaunted we were set off from an imaginary line on the road, a long gap between each car to prevent any "follow my leader" or cheating and hence to our first Tulip diagram, is it? Or isn't it?. After just a few minutes it became clear that my driver or PCV 555G's driver had made a mistake i.e. passing each other in opposite directions. By the way speaking of PCV 555G, didn't she look beautiful? She must spend a fortune on makeovers and Autoglym but I understand that she has suffered a few setbacks recently, hopefully that will soon pass after her HRT (hot running treatment) has been completed. Where was I? - back to the Tulip, outstanding scenery howling gales not a Hen Harrier or Peregrine Falcon in sight, they have more sense in this weather. On and on. We met with OEC 25L growling his way towards Glen-Maye. This vehicle is some macho piece of engineering, in fact I saw him scare some hardy two wheeler cousin riders on the ferry when arriving into Douglas. Perhaps I have a weak spot for the younger man, to be honest it's between OEC 25L and NBW 244P who you may have noticed wears his protection day and night.
Suddenly my thoughts were jammed into intense concentration as was my second gear. Entering a very narrow road the down gradient became steeper by the second. High banks and walls skirted my sides, the roads central macadam was broken away and replaced with sump cleaning grass. All too soon I felt my clutch being depressed twice along with high engine revs. and first gear was smoothly engaged (that chap in the drivers seat must be improving). Brakes applied on and of, on and off and then that old familiar smell, brake linings fast reaching the copper rivets, - feet in the passenger side stamping down on imaginary brake pedals. Why do the human-kind shout such profanities? Does it help with the braking? I doubt it. only to be left on the car park whilst our owners once again re fuelled with a cream tea, whatever that is. Our journey back to Mount Murray was uneventful only interrupted by another re fuelling stop but this time for me! Tonneaux and soft tops replaced we were all left once again on the car park and our owners went to the warmth and hospitality of their accommodation. Apparently they had a good evening together, once again re fuelling and then topping up with a variety of alcohol based fluids followed by merry making until the early hours. Don't think for one minute that we didn't enjoy ourselves on the car park. Are you all sure that we were parked in the same places that we were left in? Did any of you men-kind notice any tonneaux unbuttoned as if we had dressed in a hurry? Oh! yes - and we were not playing football either!
Sunday was a much better day weatherwise; all cars were free to do their own thing. I had a long chat with HRD 93 in the morning when he poured out to me that he needs a little more TLC than he is receiving at the moment and I was later able to pass on to him that I overheard a conversation with his owner indicating that very soon he will have is wheels refurbished together with other improvements. That made him lots happier. Some cars went sight seeing some lounged about in the hotel car park. Four other cars, of which I was one, went to Peel to join with other classics in a field behind the Mitre P H. It was very nice too but I didn't feel too well maybe as a result of our partying on the car park the previous night I developed a cooler fan problem. Limping carefully back to Mount Murray, resting for a little while once again my owner re fuelled in the hotel bar, but it was soon time for loading and travelling back home to my comfortable garage. Fortunately I had no luggage to carry as my young great granddaughter, bless her, carried everything. At Douglas pier we all lined up to be checked in for the ferry. Some cars were searched - don't know what for - but we did all notice TWP 150L with the bonnet up and down again even though the men-kind inspectors hadn't asked to see inside, was already feeling withdrawal symptoms from the MG bonding experience during the weekend.
Fifteen minutes early in Liverpool - no further damage to our undersides as we left the ferry and adjoining ramps lots of flashing lights and horn tooting and one last raucous growl from OEC 25L as we went on our various homeward journeys. I must say that in spite of my water cooling injury I really enjoyed myself and I am confident that this will be repaired as soon as I get home and I hope to see you all in the near future at our Club events. Cheers for now from me - BYE! - JRE 932.
Written for me by Bill Ryding.