Sorry it’s been a while between blogs. It’s just amazing how my days fly by with the routine of life. Cooking, cleaning, laundry, errands, shopping, car maintenance, and more. If I only learn one thing from this trip it is how much my dear wife Cindi does to make my life at home easy! I miss you. 😊
Housekeeping. I invited you all to view Mike Scroggie’s blogs about our European Healey tour but provided the wrong web address. It’s www.thescrogblog.wordpress.com. Have a look. The blog is in reverse order with the last day shown first. Thanks Mike!
So, what have I been up to?
A few days ago, after completing all my “chores” and being involved in some rather problematic issues at work (Thanks President Trump and Governor Brown), I decided I needed to see more of my local sites, roads and attractions while I still had time. My trip is half over! Can’t believe it.
I have been “around and about” a lot in the North Cotswold’s, but mostly passing by the brown tourist attraction signs and bypassing some of the smaller roads. So, I plotted a day drive to dive deeper. While I only accomplished about half my objectives, I had a great day and discovered some fantastic back roads.
First stop was Sudeley Castle. A lovely, restored building in a bucolic setting. Henry the VIIIs sixth (or seventh or eighth) wife was the “owner”. But first a stop and a small, rural church with an ancient cemetery for a couple of “glamour” shots. The pix of the countryside really do not do the beauty justice. The rolling hills and farm lands (now turning golden from green) are just magnificent in the Cotswold’s. You have to have human 180-degree field of view and depth perception to appreciate them fully.
Sudeley Castle was the home of Katherine Parr, one of Henry the VIII’s wives (one of the lucky ones!). During the British Civil War (i.e. religious war), Sudeley was “slighted”. That’s very early politically-correct-speak for “devastated”. Most of the walls and all of the roof were destroyed (clearly the Sudeley’s were on the losing, Lancaster, side when the Tudors won). In 1837, after more than 200 years as a derelict, some rich merchants, the Dent brothers, bought the hulk and started reconstruction, which has continued until this day. The descendants of the Dent brothers still live in the castle and it is closed during the winter when their extended family is in residence. From the videos I saw, they are “regular” people.
The Dents made their fortune in gloves. Highly fashionable in the 1800’s and beyond. Before I left on my trip, I bought two new pair of high quality driving gloves online. I knew they were from Briton. So, I checked the labels. “Dent Brothers Glove Company”. As the Vikings would say “wyrd”.
To see more of the fascinating story of Sudeley, go to https://sudeleycastle.co.uk/.
AN INTERESTING DISPLAY OF HENRY THE VIII’S WIVES. IF YOU CAN’T READ THE SIGNS, GO TO THE WEBSITE TO SEE THEIR “OUTCOMES”
After more miles of back roads driving (the actual number of miles is surprisingly low, but at 40 mph, it takes while), I arrived at Broadway Tower. This “folly” was built to amuse the wife of a rich noble who had an interest in astronomy. At the highest point in the Cotswold’s, and far from any city lights, it must have been a wonderful place to observe the universe. Today, for some unknown reason, it has a large display of William Morris oriented “stuff’, but the views over the countryside for up to 50 miles are incredible. This was a rare clear day and I could see Wales!
When I got back to my roadside parking place I found more people enjoying my car than the views! And I left the keys in it!
ONE VIEW FROM THE TOWER, USED AS AN RAF LOOKOUT POINT IN WW11
I had plans to visit a couple of more sights, but time ran out. Maybe next week.
Side note: I am not seeing a lot of classic cars on the road, but easily 50% of them are Morgan’s. Maybe it is just that the factory is still producing cars and is only 40 miles from here.
THE JAGUAR ENTHUSIST’S CLUB ANNUAL MEET
As I have mentioned before, there are three major Jag Clubs in the UK. The JEC is one of them. Their annual meet was held at Wroxall Abbey, about an hour’s drive from me. Again, I arrived early, but eventually there were over 500 Jags on the field. In addition to the show, there were seminars, vendors, a Spitfire fly over, a dog show (what, dogs in England?) and more, including a great old Abbey building with a fine pub. The pictures tell the story. However, I did make one great find and one discovery. The “find” was a vintage 1950’s picnic basket the same color as my car (now mine for £50). Totally original and complete.
The other was at a seminar on Jaguar literature that I attended. The guy had a 1958 Jag paint color swatch card. I now have proof, often questioned, that my car, Carmen Red, was an original color in the year it was made! Great find.
I was not entered in the Concours Judging (too late) but I probably would have won my class. However, the quality of the cars here was head and shoulders above any I have seen in England before. There are great cars here, they just don’t show up much. Needless to say, the beach boy from SoCal was a curiosity. I find I am not buying as many of my own beers lately.
A JAGUAR CLASSIC CENTER RESTORATION 150…..ABOUT A 110 OUT OF 100 IN MY BOOK
JAG FIRE TENDER CAR (LUCKY FIRE CHIEF!)
JAGUAR POLICE CAR
ON THE STATE OF ENGLISH FOOTBALL
A week ago, I went to my “local” to watch the England-Belgium World Cup game. I got there at 6. The game was at 7. The place was empty! Eventually the small TV room sort of filled up, but it was like a Dodger’s game. No one there until the third inning, and then everyone leaves in the seventh. Curious.
Last night was MUCH different. This match vs. Columbia mattered. It was the knock out round. The place was packed. They ate, and they drank. The score was 1-0 England until Columbia tied it in “extra time” (don’t ask me what that is). Now into 30-minute overtime. I should mention that there are no time outs in football. You need to go? You might just miss the one and only goal. Anyway, no score in OT, so a shoot-out (they call it penalty shots for some reason). England missed their third and it looked like curtains. Then a Columbian hit the cross bar and the next one was blocked, and England had it if they could hit the final attempt. Seems England has not won in penalties (i.e. shoot out) in World Cup matches since 1966! Everyone was holding their heads. The England kicker approached the ball and GOALLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL! The place erupted. I got hugs from complete strangers. Beers all around from the owner of the pub. Cool experience. We will see what Saturday brings.
A NOTE ON THE WEATHER
Since returning from Europe the weather has been magnificent. 70’s to low 80’s during the day, 50’s at night. As I write this, at 10pm it is still light outside, 75 with a nice breeze. For the first few days the Brits were thanking me for bringing the SoCal weather. They say this is extraordinary. Now they are cursing the “heat” and wishing for rain! I have to admit, the verdant green is fading to golden brown, but I am loving it. I have worn nothing but shorts since I returned. They say it will change, but I hope not.
WHAT’S ON TAP?
Tomorrow: Stratford upon Avon Beer Festival
7/13: Cotswold’s Air Show
7/14: Stow on Wold Car Show (my local town)
7/15 – 7/19: Touring the East Coast just below Scotland to see Berwick and Alnwick Castles, hugely important in English history from pre-history to Vikings to Saxons to Normans and onward. History freak goes nuts.
7/20 – 7/22: Silverstone Raceway Historic Races. Cars, racing, music and the smell of raw fuel and spilled ale.
7/28 – 7/29: Shelsey Walsh Vintage Hill Climb (it’s a race uphill). The oldest continuously in use race track in Europe, maybe the world!
August: Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Coast.