The sun shone and the roads were quiet when we set off in ‘Gina’ for our trip to the South West on the Jurassic Coast tour. Having plenty of time, we meandered our way down the coast to Sidmouth, stopping en route, Dorchester for coffee, Lyme Regis for lunch and to buy Roger and Carmen Peel shrimp nets. They obviously planned to seriously do the seaside thing!
Our first view of others on the tour was of Trevor and Chrissie Andrews going in the opposite direction in their Sunbeam on the outskirts of Sidmouth. The hotel is perfectly situated on the front and we were soon installed in our own parking spots. We hadn’t bargained for the onslaught of seagull guano - sales of tarpaulins rocketed in the town!
Monday morning sunshine was perfect weather for our leisurely run to the Ship Inn at Axmouth where the landlord put on a substantial buffet lunch in their garden marquee. Whilst there, we were visited by Mick Collis and family who were taking a break in their trip back home after the VSCC Wiscombe meet. Then we went on to Beer and visited the quarry caves from where the Romans and everyone else since have removed stone. There was lots of fun to be had choosing fleecy ponchos to wear underground – Wavell in his leopard skin and Keyth masquerading as Butch Cassidy were the most notable outfits. An easy afternoon run back to the hotel before Stephen Law joined us for pre-dinner drinks.
The hill out of Sidmouth westwards was a great challenge to the cold engines on our run out along the Jurassic Coast to Abbotsbury Swannery. While some of us visited the swans, others were elated enough just to have driven that coastal route with the splendid views of the coastline and Chesil beach. It was noticeable some couples were sitting apart on separate tables today, it seems the navigation has taken its toll. Will the TOC be cited as a reason for divorce, we wonder? (Could be another first for a car club!) Along the way we tried completing a mild observational quiz which was suitably won by those who had travelled the furthest, James and Katy Tibbitts. Sadly, there were some car problems today with the Andrews’ Sunbeam blowing a head gasket and Roger and Celeste Platt had some difficulty but completed the run. The hotel served another delightful meal where we were joined by Stephen Law and Vivienne and Malcolm Fishwick. Twenty-four of us sat down to the final three-course dinner.
We had descended on Sidmouth from as far afield as Kent and Norfolk. What a turnout, eight Talbots, a Sunbeam and one Riley for good measure. For three days proper cars were to be seen on every street and at every crossroads, arriving and leaving in all directions. We investigated coffee shops, public houses, beaches, cliffs, both red sandstone and white limestone. How the garden shed remained perched precariously on the cliff edge at the end of Sidmouth promenade was a surprise and bets were taken as to when it would topple into the sea, but it didn’t happen on our watch.
We parted company on Wednesday morning after three days of wall to wall sunshine and took a trip on the Seaton to Colyton tram before finally leaving East Devon. An excellent few days ably organised by Paul and Mary. We are looking forward to next year’s jaunt — we never did see the fishing nets put to use!