"The River Rally"
International rally 2018, Diss
Already the 8th time that I took my car to the Austin A30-A35 owners-club Rally. I know that there are people that have attended almost every rally since the first one in 1980. But for my it feels like time is passing by very quickly. Time also past quickly during this weekend, we where looking at lovely Austin's, saw some familiar faces, made new friends and visited interesting places in the area. Before we knew it, we where heading back home. The rally was held on the Flax Farm, which was kindly made available by Stephen. The team organising the event thought of everything and the weather was soo nice. We really enjoyed ourselves and we would like to thank everybody who made the event possible! I hope you enjoy the photo's below.
I realise that these trips might all seem similar to a person that is reading all my stories. This has to do with the fact that I am writing these mostly for myself. So that I can, in a few years time, look back and revisit the trip as it were.
We started the trip from our home town and drove the 60km to the Hook van Holland. It's always nice to see the old stenaline buildings there and even nicer with a beautiful sunset. The customs where also cooperative, although I later heard that one of the other Dutch cars could not join because of an expired ID
We parked the car's on the car decks. We are always split up because my fathers Van is towing the trailer. For reasons unknown to us, he has to park with the big trucks. After making sure the parking brake is on. We memorised the location of the cars (very usefull in the mornig) and we made our way to deck 10. where the cabins are located.
The cabins were exactly the same as last year. They are very comfortable and I can tell you that the shower is so nice on the way back. Usually the showers on the camp-site are not ideal. But we will see this year. I have seen pictures of the buildings that Stephen has erected on his property and I am feeling confident that the showers will be fine.
After ditching our bags in the cabin we made our way to the forward section of deck nine. This spot is a favorite of ours because of the views out te window. With clear weather like this you can see the surge barrier. It's amazing. I have visited the vitors center with the Austin EigenarenClub when it was built. They had a section of pipe on display. The pipe used in the structure is about 2 meters in diameter so you can walk though them. It's truely a remarable piece of engineering. More info here:
The next morning we made our way to the car deck after some coffee (told you that memorising the location was a good idea) To our big surprise Stenaline had decided to change the tune that they use to wake the passengers. So no more "Don't worry, be happy" which is sad.. Of course everybody brought more than enough currant buns to enjoy on the key-side. The best buns are of course with butter and cheese. After break-fast we set off in our cars. My brother Koen was my Navigator. Hans had Jan as his passenger and Theo switched between Erik's and Nico's car during the trip. This was of course because Chris (who had been very eager to go after his experience last year on his first rally) had come down with pneumonia. And it is really not advisable to camp out in a tent in England at the end of may with pneumonia. The weather can still go crazy if you are unlucky.
This year's rally was relatively close to the Ferry, we have never had to drive so little on a trip to England. Not that I am complaining the surroundings were interesting non the less. Needless to say, there was not much to tell about the journey to Diss. We arrived on the field and we learned that we were one of the first there. We picked the spot that was to our liking and the tents were erected in no time at all.
We arrived early so we there was lots of time to find another activity to do. We decided to visit a museum, the museum in question was literally down the road and as you can tell from the pictures. It was quite lovely.
Just to make it clear, this museum was in Diss. ;-) It was a steam museum with gardens that were also open to visitors.
The museum had a variety of different stream powered vehicles. Nico also tried out the Mary-go-round. The weather was also in our favour, and at one point we had to stop and have a drink as it was really getting quite hot.
This sign says it all, we had spent the extra money and got ourselves tickets to ride the trains. The track was surprisingly long and I can't speak for the others, but I enjoyed the ride.
They did seem to enjoy themselves!
This was the House that oversaw the gardens. Well I can tell you, if you are into gardens, don't hesitate and visit it. You wont be disappointed! So we where sitting on a bench, my dad and myself. And after a while we were approached by a woman pushing a shopping stroller. She started talking about the Dutch royal family after she had learned we are Dutch. To make a long story short, at the end she actually chased us because she wanted to talk some more! I hope she was not to offended, but we really had to go at that point. She did know more about the History of our royal family than we did..
In the evening we enjoyed some hamburgers from the grill. And we went for a walk across the golf coarse. Although I am pretty sure that we where not supposed to. We did take care to not mess up the grass. It was a nice walk and we got a nice view of the camp field.
The next day we decided to go to Norwich. Also relatively close-by, non-the-less it was a nice drive up. We parked right in the centre of the city, at a mall.
At the marketplace we came across this manequin, funny man behind it. The marketplace was actually quite interersting. It was a series of pods in which merchants can sell their products. The history of this marketplace goes way back and is one of the largest markets in Britain click here for more info
At the market we sat down for some fish and chips.. sadly it was a bit soggy.
On our walk through the city we came across this interesting church. It was called St. Gregory's
. And it was filled with antiques and other collectables. We spent a fair amount of time here. Almost everybody in our group likes these sort of things. I don't think we bought anything though, prices where a bit steap.
A closup of St. Gregory's sign
This was directly outside St. Gregory's church. I took the picture because I liked the look of the square.
Another picture of the church, this time from the outside. We did not visit anything else in Norwich. we did pass trough a mall, wanted to take some pictures. However I got stopped by the security, apparently it was not allowed.
Back at the rally field in the evening of that Friday. Stephen had his cars out during the whole weekend. Naturally I took some pictures.
Stephen built his own camper and entered it in the Shed of the year contest. He ended up second!
The inside looked to be a usable camper van. However, headroom in the bed was quite little.
Stephen's Austin A30 V6 Convertible
Stephen's Austin Convertible with the camper-van in the background.
On the Saturday we went for a run around the countryside. Much of the route was from the rally booklet. It was a nice drive and we stopped to take some pictures of the cars.
After lunch we stayed on the rally field. Mostly because parts where already being sold and of course we wanted to take a look.
This year the rocker cover races made an appearance again. It was explained to me that the track is borrowed from another car club and that it is not always available. Hans did not bring his rocker cover racer, so I don't thing there were any Dutch entries. Good fun to watch though, although it seemed a bit rushed.
Here are some pictures of the Austin A30's and Austin A35's on the field. The pictures are of the saturday and sunday.
Phil's Harris's pickup had quite the collection in the boot. (is it called a boot or pick-up bed...)
On sunday afternoon I had helped David getting his "Rev" of of a dolly. (Read about the story here)
In the evening we decided to go to a local pub for dinner. Walking into the pub we where a bit startled by the rock music played at the time. But it turned out to be a really nice pub. The interior was quite traditional and the food was good.
The evenings were not that cold and we could sit out without the need for extra heating.
On the last day (Monday) We had hatched the plan to stop at a few attractions along the route. We had asked our friend David, whom we had helped get his carburettor clean Sunday evening. (Thanks again for the recommendations David and Kate!) The Norfolk and Suffolk Aviation museum
was not all that far away, lot's to see... The hangars where crammed full.
It was a hot day, so we parked outside the hanger doors. There was some shade there.. no Air-conditioning in the cars.
This was not the hanger itself, but they had lots of these 1/3rd scale planes.
These boats where mounted underneath an air plane and used as a life boat. I had never seen anything like it! Really cool!
After the Aviation Museum we went to the East Anglia Transport Museum.
A lovely lady from the museum approached us in the parking-lot. She said we could park on the museum grounds. So for a moment our cars were part of the exhibition.
These trolley buses and trams where really cool! We got to ride them a few times. The seats in one of them were quite cool. They had the ability to move their backrest from one side to another. This way the passenger could chose to always face forward. Even the seat would tilt slightly to make for a more comfortable sit.
intricate electrical work, I would not know were to start if I was asked to put it all up there...
There were some car's and electric vehicles to. But it was mainly about the busses and trolleys.
The second last stop was Framlingham Castle, it was very nice but soooo hot. We did not linger here... we walked around for a bit and went back to the cars.
A view from the old walled garden, the walls and the garden where long gone...
The Castle from the path that surrounds it, this path was in the ditch that would (at some point) have contained the moat.
The last stop of the day was Helmingham park. Although I feel we only stopped here because we saw some signs next to the road. There was this massive tree and in the end we only stopped to see the tree. I did get some very neat pictures.
What a lovely car!
We just had to park the cars there
A little discussion on what route to take. In the end we took the scenic route.
A little down the road of the big tree we had to stop en take this picture
The Cross inn was closed for some reason. This really bummed us out. We had to drive all the way to another village to find some place to eat. To bad pink pub... better luck next time.
We enjoyed the trip thoroughly again this year. Thanks to all the people that organised the Rally.