This was my seventh visit to the Austin A30 - A35 Owners club's (inter)national rally. The rally was held in Hibaldstow, North Lincolnshire. Which is a lovely little village near Scunthorpe. As we have done numerous times before we took the ferry from the Hoek of Holland to Harwich. We where joined on the ferry by a few Dutch Classic Mini owners with whom we had s small chat.
In the morning we arrived on the shore. after the traditional "krentebol" we drove off to the National rally. However we had to make a slight detour to the workshop of Paul. He had agreed to our request to see the workshop. When we arrived we saw that Paul had already parked some vehicles on the lawn outside his house. This made it easy to spot the house that we were looking for. We got to see all the projects that he is working on in his splendid workshop. The Pick-up that was made by Paul's father had also been brought to the house. This was an amazing build, meant to look like and be a pick-up. However it was made clear that it was not a carbon copy. Because of the rise interest in Austin A35 Pick-up's prises have risen to great heights. They where not willing to spend that kind of money so they decided to build their own. We also dropped-of some repair panels that he sells via his website. We had apparently forgotten about the time because Paul's wife reminded us that it was long pas tea time. When we pulled ourselves from admiring all the wonderful race Austin's. We were treated to some lovely snacks with tea (and some of us coffee) we sat outside in the garden as it was a lovely and very warm day. After tea we were told that we could also see Paul's father's tractor collection. It was a short drive so we agreed to follow Paul in his modern car. It was indeed a nice collection of tractor's witch included Nuffield tractors. We where told that Nuffield was part of the BMC cooperation as a result of the merger with Morris Motors. So there is definitely a link to our little Austin's. After taking some additional pictures of the Pick-up we thanked Paul and his family and set out to resume our trip to the International Rally.
The British club had arranged for the Rally to take place on a field behind the village hall. This field is normally used for sports, these sports included cricket, a game that I do not know all that well. Apparently it is played on a meticulously cared for field. This meant that as a camping field, this was absolutely perfect! Just like every year we found that the organisation had put up markings and an information booth. We found a suitable spot next to the van Arums.
The first job after arrival was of-course: Pitching the tent. With the well practised crew this was done in a matter of minutes. The only thing was, we had a new member of our group, Chis. Naturally he was not as fast as the others. However, he soon got the hang of it. All joking aside, the tent's are of-course not that hard to erect. And we managed it all in 20 minutes. After some reconnaissance around the field we decided it was time for some dinner. We opted for pub food in The Wheatsheaf Hotel. The bitters tasted great after a long day and the food was very good.
After a night sleeping on our inflatable bed's we were waken by the sent of coffee prepared by Theo. Had planned to first visit a local archaeological site. This site was the location of a historic village, which sounded interesting. But as it turns out, was just a field with the contours of the buildings visible in the terrain. the only thing to be seen was the sign that pointed what to look for. After a few minutes we where on our way to the next stop: "The Lincolnshire Museum of Transport. This turned out to be a nice little museum packed with cars and a lot of buses. It was quite enjoyable and afterwards we walked to a nearby restaurant for luch. It was such a warm day that we decided to sit inside (because of the burning sun) and by coincidence we all ordered the same sandwich with apple-juice. Koen guided us back to the camp-site with his navigational skills and he directed us along some nice roads. The rest of the day was spent enjoying the sun and after doing some groceries at the local supermarket we had dinner cooked on the our little 2-burner camp stove by Theo.
On Saturday morning we set of to explore a tip that Thea gave us. They had visited a garden where they had seen a tree that might be of interest to Nico. It turned out to be 'Normanby Hall Country Park'. And they did indeed have a magnificent tree there. along with a walled garden it was worth the visit. The next item on the list of things that we wanted to visit was the canal museum of Goole. Here we saw the history of the area which included a coal lift. The plan to make the goole area into a harbour turned out to be drawn up by a Dutchman. The coal lift was quite cool it lift's canal barges out of the water and deposits the contents in larger vessels. We also boarded the tour of the harbour area with an old lifeboat. We saw remnants of such a lift. Unfortunately they are not in working order. Near the end of the boat trip dark clouds started coming in and we were getting worried that we would get very wet. Thankfully the rain held back until we were inside our cars. To sum up: It was an interesting but small museum, and whatever you do, don't order the sandwich with sausage.
We got back to the tents to find out that the stormy weather had collapsed the awning. This was swiftly rebuild and the whole thing forgotten within the hour as the weather cleared up. The evening past uneventful. we went for a stroll though town with some of the blokes and finished the walk off with a locally brewed beer that was served in the town hall.. however we had not counted on a warm beer. Needless to say, the beer was not to everybody's taste and most of us did not finish it.
The Sunday is traditionally the main rally day. The whole day was spent on the rally field, we parked our cars in the line-up. The day was spent browsing the stalls and buying parts. Some of us attended the auction. However, it was very warm inside the tent and the auction itself was very lengthy. There did not seem to be a whole lot of interest in the parts. Despite the good selection and high quality of items. It looked as though everybody has every part they need. We ended the day with a barbecue. We had suspended the barbecue with tent pegs above the grass. So that it would not leave burn marks. Our plan worked a treat as there was nothing to be seen the next day.
On Monday it was time to make our way to the ferry. However the boat did not leave until 10:00 PM so we had some time to spend. We decided to visit the Carrington steam festival. We had visited the site two years ago and it was well received in the group. This time around was no different and everybody enjoyed the vehicles on display. They have classic cars, tractors, steam engines and market stalls. Theo especially liked the two steam engines that dragged a plough across the field with two giant drums underneath their boiler that winched a long cable. Chris marvelled at all the tractors and the rest of us also found interesting stuff to see.
Around 3 'o clock we got back on the road to te ferry. Of course we stopped at the Cross inn our favourite stop, it is just a shame that is signals the end of our England trip. To our surprise they had reserved a table for us, as the owner had anticipated us. Next year, we will stop at the Cross inn around the same time as the we will use the Hoek van Holland Harwich ferry again.