Past Events in 2015.
When: Sunday 26th April
On a rather cool morning, 30 members and friends met at the Herb Farm on the outskirts of Sonning Common for much-needed and delicious coffee in our own private area of Daisy’s coffee shop. It was good to see so many Hotchkiss cars out-and-about on Drive-it Day. The Herb Farm was established in 1985, and both the gift and coffee shops are situated in a lovely timber-framed barn. Time was spent chatting with old friends, and it was especially nice to see Pat Howarth there with her family. By midday, it was time to set off on a beautiful undulating drive of 18 miles through the Berkshire countryside to our lunch destination. During the journey, some of the group stopped off at Stoke Row to admire the Maharaja’s Well, endowed by the Maharaja of Benares in India. It was built to ensure that local people had a safe and adequate water supply, and was officially opened in 1864.
Our luncheon destination was The Rossini at The Leatherne Bottel in Goring-on-Thames, an Italian restaurant based right on the edge of the River Thames. Over a very leisurely lunch there was plenty of time to continue conversations started earlier in the day – and to hold a very successful raffle. We thank Paul Hickson, our President, for arranging such a lovely day out.
When: June 02-09
Secrets of France- BHS 25th Annual Drive
We always expect to enjoy the annual Drive, but this year our get-together was exceptional. It was a great disappointment that Peter and Jill Nunn were unable to participate, as they have attended every Drive since the club was founded, but it was made extra special by the presence of our members Don and Vikki from Australia and Paula and Toby from America – and of course Barry and Sandra who were already home! In total, 26 members and friends (plus occasional visitors) spent 3 nights in La Ferté-Bernard in the Pays de la Loire, followed by 4 nights in Falaise in Suisse Normande. The sun shone each day, which added to the enjoyment.
While based in the pretty town of La Ferté-Bernard, activities included a guided tour of a local cidrerie (cider factory), with cider- and calvados-tasting and a fascinating visit to a mechanical music museum which held a huge collection of original automated musical instruments from the 1800s through to 1960, including mechanical pianos, musical clocks, barrel organs and phonographs – some group members showed off their singing and dancing skills during the demonstrations! A guided tour on a touristic train around La Ferté-Bernard and a visit to a spectacular Knights Templar site (La Commanderie d’Arville) with wonderful buildings and a museum were also included. During our travels around the beautiful area, we drove on parts of the 1906 Grand Prix Route, and were able to sometimes stop and read the information panels about that race which were to be found on various parts of the route.
It was then time to move up to Suisse Normande. After about 50 miles, we reached our luncheon destination, an amazing ‘transport cafe’ enjoyed by locals and lorry drivers alike, where we had a wonderful meal. A short drive took us to Les Haras national du Pin (the oldest national stud farm in France) set in beautiful grounds and with fine chateau-like buildings, for a guided tour – by a Scot! – and then we headed for the hotel in Falaise.
No visits were arranged for the following day, so most of us spent the time exploring the town with its magnificent chateau (‘home’ of William the Conqueror), interesting churches and museums and the weekly market. A fabulous bombshell was dropped at dinner that evening, Doug and Kathleen Crowther had not spent the day in Falaise like the rest of us, they had gone off and bought a Hotchkiss car! It is a 1930 AM2 La Boule and would be waiting for them at the ferry terminal.
Over the next two days, we visited the pretty Chateau du Pontécoulant, with its pretty garden created during the reign of Louis XV1, enjoyed a boat trip on the tranquil lac de Rabondanges and enjoyed the spectacular views over the wooded Rouvre gorges at la Roche d’Oetre. A visit to the Chemin de fer Miniature in Clecy was our final destination, with its amazing display of one of Europe’s largest model railways with more than 510 metres of track and covering an area of 310 square meters.
In total, there were 7 vintage cars in the Drive - some of which only managed to complete the 7 days driving thanks to the expertise of Tony Curtis! the A wonderful week was had by everyone, and our very grateful thanks go to Sandra and Barry for working so hard to make this 25th Drive such a success.
When: August 16th
Where: Stanford Dingley, Berks
It is a fact that not all things improve with age but most of the British Hotchkiss Society’s events seem to manage this comfortably. The Summer Saunter 2015 was very definitely one in this category.
The choice of venue for lunch this year was The Bull at Stanford Dingley. Set in a beautiful green rural setting, it was a brilliant find by Erica and David Tipton. The food and service was excellent and the company brilliant. The Tiptons also organised a truly balmy sunny day for us to boot.
The 26 hungry Hotchkissers who knew what the day would bring were amply rewarded for their endeavours to arrive at the lunch in mostly ‘proper’ cars. These included the beautiful, newly acquired ex-Doron AM2 La Baule of Dougie and Kathy Crowther and the unusual but well-prepared Anjou pickup of Martin Aldridge.
Also present were Tony Curtis in his 864, Alan and Shirley Newbery in their newly acquired ex-Pat Howarth’s AM80 coupé, Michael Edwards and his Type X 1910, the Scotts in their immaculate 680G Modane, Clive Hamilton Gould in his Delage, Roger Baker in his split-screen Morris Tourer and the Nunn’s in their Citroen 2CV6.
Other members and friends that joined in the fun were ‘pedestrians’ Pat Howarth, Pam Walton, Adriano Ulrix, Roger Muirhead, Geoffrey St John, the Goodyears, John Hewitt, Lewis Simmonds and Hilary Ledger.
After lunch we all were kindly invited back to the Tipton’s beautiful house in Bucklebury for the most delicious of English teas on the lawns which included a wonderful selection of cakes baked by the ladies and not, of course, forgetting Erica’s traditional vast bowl of strawberries with lashings of cream. There were, of course, bottomless pots of freshly-made tea.
Thank you, Erica and David, for yet another unforgettable Summer Saunter’.
When: Sunday 11th October
Shall we AV8? A bright brisk morning saw over 30 members and friends congregate for coffee at AV8, the cafe at Cotswold Airfield. Many had travelled some distance to be with us. Suddenly, there she was! Tony Curtis's wonderful unrestored AM80 Coupé driven by Wesley Twinning, with Roger Muirhead, who owned the car for over 60 years, riding as passenger. Roger was in great form, showing the car to all and sundry.
Settled weather ensured a fine collection of cars, including Michael Edwards' 1910 Limousine, Alan and Shirley Newbery's AM80 to Tony Curtis's smart Vichy. We enjoyed the company of a small Delage contingent and a handsome Armstrong Siddeley.
Organiser Michael Edwards' pretty route took us some 18 miles along country lanes to lunch at The New Inn, Coln St. Aldwyns - a picturesque Cotswold village. Geoffrey and Rita St John were the first to arrive in their magnificent 1913 Tourer. We now numbered 33 hungry souls and a lively, enjoyable lunch ensued - so much hot air being generated that the staff turned off the heating at our request!
It was great to see so many friends both old and new. Many thanks to Michael Edwards for his organisation. Special thanks to Tony Curtis, Wes Twinning and Roger Muirhead for giving us all such a lovely surprise with "that car"!