A Yank's View of England Part 5

Saturday May 6th - Stoke Goldington Engine Rally

Saturday was a brilliant day, warm and sunny. The French convoy headed south for the small village of
Stoke Goldington and the 24th Steam Rally & Country Fayre. The village of Stoke Goldington was originally an Anglo Saxon settlement that avoided the invading Vikings. Following the Norman invasion, the village got its present name. Population is relatively stable over the last couple of hundred years at about 600. Many of the buildings have lovely thatched roofs. Over the course of the trip I got to see two roof thatchers at work.

The condition of the rally field was vastly improved over the Rushden rally, nice relatively dry grassy rally field. We unloaded the engines and got everyone into their designated positions by their assigned numbers. Handy water barrels were located throughout the engine area. The bloke in charge of the engine area (Pete Bailey) was really well organized and did a
nice layout (right by the entrance from the car park so there was a lot of people traffic to see the engines).

Then we decided it was time to make some noise. Once the Petter "M" was swung up and started running she started hopping badly, thus acquiring the nickname "
Bouncing Betty". There was a resonance between the running frequency of the Petter and the springiness of the turf! Anything to damp the oscillations was sufficient. We finally settled on a small screw jack making light contact under the trolley plus soaking the ground right around the wheels. After about 30 minutes she had bedded in enough to settle down. Jim's Eclipse was being a bit temperamental until he lodged a pound coin under the choke lever that sorted it out nicely. Jim and Helen managed to get Margaret doing a reasonable impression of a running motor (deft camouflage of the smoke bellows and mirror). Helen was quite smug about once again being able to pull this charade off undetected. Might have something to do with the Bucks Fizz she adds to the fuel tank. "Hey, it works for me!" Helen was heard to say. A slight modification to Margaret's muffler (patent pending) made her downright mellow and sociable. *

One quirk I observed several times is this passion to apply load to an engine's flywheels with whatever is handy. Jim introduced me to this notion with a rag held against the flywheel with knee pressure at Portland when we were sorting out my Novo "S" and again at Rushden I observed all of this mad two-stroke fraternity loading up their engines with pressure on the flywheels. Well as Jim and I chatted, up strolls this nattily dressed older gent in sport coat and hat carrying a nicely carved walking stick. Well, he takes one look at my Petter "M" and his fingers start to twitch. A bit of spittle forms at the corner of his mouth, and he
ATTACKS the Petter "M" with his walking stick!! Jams one end of the stick into the ground, and heaves up to put heavy pressure on the flywheel. He really seems to be enjoying himself. Must be something about that "wibble-wibble" sound Anyway after about ten minutes of this "abuse of flywheels" the smell of burnt wood is rich in the air and the older gent seems to be satisfied. We chatted a bit more and he walked off happy, with a nice, deep ground-in spot on his walking stick, with the exact curvature of a Petter "M" flywheel. 8-)

As it was nearing lunchtime, we shut the engines down and headed for the beer tent by way of the vendor's stalls. You've heard of the lonely Maytag repairman? Well, just imagine the trade that a bloke running the
"Neat Necks" tie shop is doing at an ENGINE rally!!! We did find a nice pork sandwich vendor and the beer tent. The selection was lots smaller than Rushden, but quite nice nonetheless. Right outside the beer tent was the staging area for the model steamers. WOW! Lovely little beasts!

As this is billed as a steam rally, there are hordes of the big steamers. Included were the elaborately decorated Showman's Engines used to pull and power fairground equipment; Agricultural Engines fitted with a large flywheel for general farm use; Road Locomotives the big, fast engines for pulling heavy loads along the roads; Ploughing Engines that were usually used in pairs on opposite sides of a field to pull the ploughing implement from one side to the other and back again; and many others. A neat feature was the Grand Parade where all
27 large steam engines entered the show ring, took a turn round and joined their fellows in the center. After all had had a turn, they all fired up their boilers, and sounded their whistles all in a great show of smoke and steam!! WOW!

Several other engines I enjoyed included a nice
Lister "D" mud pump outfit, a lovely Brooke marine engine, and a Stuart Turner milking engine.



The
next outing is a visit to Roland's Yard.


* The webmistress would like it to be noted that the anti-Maytag views expressed on these pages are not hers.

Arnie's UK Tour

Rushden Cavalcade Twycross Zoo Peter Forbes'
Country Towns Stoke Goldington Roland Craven
Stoke Bruerne Southern England Local Attractions
Canals & Wales Last Few Days  

This page was a joint production by Arnie and Dolly - words by Arnie, photos by both, webbing by Dolly


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