The local rugby lions run a charity classic car rally at Grasmere every year. Every year since we’ve been here, we’ve managed to miss it. But yesterday, in spite of grey clouds and spitting rain, we made it.
We arrived in the village far too early so had a mooch round first, followed by coffee in the wonderful Grasmere Tea Gardens, a fixture since a local woman started serving refreshments to coach (ie horse-drawn) travellers using the village ford, in 1889. The current owners have been in the place since 1965, and obviously haven’t lost their sense of humour:
By 10.30 the rally was open for business. Unlike some events we’ve been to recently, they had a massive range of old vehicles available to wander round, poke, and take photos of, and the glorious setting in the heart of Grasmere valley with fells all around, made it even more of a photographer’s dream.
There were some really unusual cars there. Neither of us had ever heard of a French manufacturer, Facel, before, and apparently their vehicles make hens’ teeth look common-place. Yet there was one here, gleaming so much the sky was reflected in its bonnet.
There was lots of fun, too, from an LAPD patrol car to a dog ‘driving’ a pedal car, via what looked like every Morris Minor in the county.
And even a plastic aardvark skeleton (don’t ask).
The only annoyance was having to pay £4.50 for a cup of tea and one slice of cake – and then having to eat it standing up, in the drizzle, because the stall only had about 5 tables. Apart from that, it was a great event and we’re really glad to have been.
The top photo, by the way, shows an Austin Seven. My grandparents drove all the way from Northampton to Scotland (and back again) in one of these. Hard to believe when you see one nowadays because they look so small. But perhaps future generations will be saying similar things about our own modes of transport in the years to come!