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North Oxfordshire and Cotswolds Area Report Spring 2010.

I hope everyone enjoyed their Christmas break and is getting ready for the next rally season. We should remember that a number of long standing shows will either not happen again or are on the brink of finishing due to either poor weather, lack of support, low customer turnout or possibly a combination of all three. So please support them whenever you can. I must say that in some instances poor turnout is the fault of the organisers. I can think of one historical event at a Country House last year that they only asked for military vehicles two days before the event started. It was not that clever to leave it so late as the event looked to be very interesting and two of our members certainly would have attended if they had been given greater warning.

Our Christmas dinner was held at the usual venue of the Sun Inn at Hook Norton. Despite the threat of bad weather it was well attended and thoroughly enjoyed. The raffle raised a further £30 for Help the Heroes, which gives us a total of £856 raised for this worthy charity this year. Well done everybody.

The final event of the year was the “frost bite” road run which was organised by Julian Mitchell. This well attended with 8 Jeeps, 2 Land Rovers and 1 Champ undertaking the 30 mile drive with lunch being consumed at “Sturdy’s castle”. All the vehicles behaved themselves, although strange noises could be heard from Julians and David’s Jeeps. Hopefully matters that can be resolved before the rally season starts.

Our meetings at the Hook Norton Brewery have been proving to be very popular and well attended with in excess of 30 people attending each Month. Apart from the beer, our other big pull is the excellent guest speakers that we have been able to get (but this might be down to the beer that we give them and a free ride home). Our thanks do go out to Don once again for finding people who have had such interesting lives and are happy to talk about them. One of our speakers, Bob Souter was a parachute training instructor and member of the “Falcons” parachute display team. To many of us, jumping out of a perfectly serviceable aeroplane just once would be once too many, but Bob has done this in excess of 5,000 times! He explained the mechanics of parachute training and making jumps and then told us of some of his experiences. One event that does stick in the mind quite firmly is when he did a freefall jump for a village fete. He was supposed to deploy his parachute when his altimeter displayed a certain height. He was watching just the altimeter when he suddenly realised that it had become stuck. He looked up and realised that he was seconds from disaster. He quickly deployed his parachute only just in time to prevent a very nasty finale to the fete. The villagers thought that it had all been part of the act and gave him a big round of applause. Another interesting speaker that Don arranged was Nigel Gilbert, a retired submarine Commander. Nigel had trained during the war and joined his first submarine as the war ended. He gave an explanation of the different types of submarines and their capabilities and some anecdotes from his time in the service. One particular instance which left us all laughing was when the very unpopular First Officer shouted an order through a speaking tube to turn 20 degrees to Port, only for the submarine to turn 20 degrees to Starboard. Incensed by this mistake, the Officer shouted down the speaking tube “Who is the **** on the end of this tube”. Back came the quick reply “Which end sir?”

We plan to hold our annual barbecue and road run weekend at Swinbrook on August the 14th and 15th. This is open to military vehicles of all eras, and we can provide plenty of space for camping with bar and bathroom facilities at the nearby cricket club. Do please contact me if you are interested in coming. If you are not sure of what this event entails do take a look at the previous Area report for what fun we got up to last time.

The Area members that I have spoken to were all very impressed with the 2010 calendar, so well done and many thanks to everyone involved. Looking at it now I am quite concerned to see that it is already filling up with the many shows that I would like to attend. There look to be some very exciting events planned for 2010 so I do hope that the weather stays kind for us.


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