The Yank Returns
Part 1

Friday June 14th 2002. Here I am back in England. The Yank Returns. Again!! Yee Haw!! Wow, I can't believe that I'm writing another trip report on the English engine rally scene. It seems like only yesterday that I completed the write up of the last trip (The Yank Returns). *
One major visual difference this time around is that all of England has sprouted national flags. Must have something to do with England being in the World Cup! Fero's prediction? An England - USA final!!

Before even taking the bags out of the car it was time to meet Fat Bastard, my new
1070PE Crossley. Jim did the untarping honors and gave me a guided tour of the engine. Then he cranked it over and we stood back to enjoy the stack music.

Then it was off to find a pub that had the USA - Poland match on the telly. After several pubs (and several pints) with no success, we decided to go back to Jon's place (Jim's brother) and watch the match there. Unfortunately, Poland beat the USA 3-1. But we were saved in the end when South Korea came through with a one-nil victory over Portugal. My prediction of an England - USA final was still in play!!

Back home we loaded Fat Bastard and Jim's R&V on the trailer to be ready for an early start Saturday morning. Dinner was one of the family's favorites from one of the Three Rivers Cookbooks that Dolly had gotten on a previous US trip. This one is known as "Tom's Favorite" and consists of sausage, tomatoes, and macaroni in a light cream tomato sauce. And strawberries & cream for dessert. I finished the evening dozing with a pint in the hot tub. What jet lag?

Saturday & Sunday June 15th & 16th - Lister-Petter Rally
At Sparrow Fart Saturday morning it was off south toward Nibley House Farm, Nibley, Dursley, Glocestershire for the Lister-Petter rally. Well, "officially" it's the Lister Tyndale Rally, but everyone still calls it the Lister-Petter Rally. The first thing one notices at the rally is the friendly signage welcoming the visitors. I think those signs were imported from Oz.

The show is held in a farm field on
top of a ridge with a commanding view of the surrounding countryside.

This was
Fat Bastard's engine rally debut with his new owner. Over the two days of the show as we sorted out some "fine tuning" Jim was the Engine Whisperer. We disassembled the fuel system having had the road trip shake loose some mung in the fuel tank. An examination of the needle valve showed that it was more flat ended than needle shaped. Jim had determined that more spring tension was needed on the atmospheric intake valve. So while he went off to the stalls looking for heavier springs, I set to "machining" a needle point with a fine flat file and some finger tip rotation. About the time Jim returned with what looked like suitable springs, the needle valve looked dangerous again. We reassembled, and gave him a spin. Damn that's better!! Now we were running like the one at the end of the row. That Crossley was more like a sewing machine than an engine. And now Fat Bastard has collected his first rally badge! And to continue my "education" in the English language, Philip Thornton-Evison and Dave Shortland taught me a new expression. We observed that Fat Bastard is a greedy bugger going through prodigious quantities of petrol. Which led to the oft repeated scene… Walk up to stopped engine, remove the cap on the fuel tank, peer inside, and exclaim loudly… "Dry as a Nun's punnet." 8-))

I should know better than to be surprised by ANYTHING at an English engine rally. But I just wasn't at all prepared to hear the sound of a lively Can-Can! The
fast moving Can-Can dancers were playing to an appreciative audience (largely male). As playful girls are wont to do, they recruited some blokes to join them on stage. "It's EASY fellas, just put on these skirts and All England wigs and just do wot we do . Now boys, just kick like this. Well, not exactly." Good fun was had by all.

Jim's R&V always had admirers and ran beautifully the whole weekend.

Some of the other interesting engines that caught my eye included: a 1926 3 hp
Ruston Hornsby "IP", Nick Chancellor's rare 1927 10 hp Lister 82TJ (before it threw a wobbler), a lovely pair of gloss black Petters; a bog top and an apple top, and as a foretaste of things to come at the 1000 Engine Rally, there were a lovely array of gensets including these Petterlights exhibited by Philip Thornton-Evison, Graham Howland, and Dave Shortland. Other interesting exhibits included a late model Lorenz with solid flywheels, a 1933 5 hp Blackstone, a 1948 6 hp Japanese King, a 1925 1-1/2 hp Wisconna Pep, a really cool oxygen compressor, and a great looking Lister water pump display.

And as is always the case at engine rallies, there were several BIG engines that were real crowd favorites. They included a 1926 four cylinder,
120 hp Ruston VC, a 1941 98 hp Gardner 13 HF (single cylinder 14-1/2"x24" B&S), and a big Petter, whose details I forgot to note (must have been distracted by the Can-Can dancers).

I'm always amazed at the array of
steam engines that are to be found at an English rally. Jim was similarly impressed.

Click on the thumbnails for larger jpegs

As English beer tents go this one was "OK." At least they had Guinness on tap. A showman's engine was parked outside providing a convenient spot to gather and enjoy one's drink. The music being played inside was just too loud for normal conversation. I did see another first. Setup a short distance from the beer tent was an array of porta-loos, OK, that's not so unusual. But this one had a large octagonal "gent's pisser" with seven stalls. Now THAT'S handy!!

And as I've come to expect at English engine rallies, there's a
good amount of military gear on exhibit.

As we were in the process of packing up there were a few final bits of amusement.
Philip proudly showed off HIS King Dick and a box of stainless steel cocks. We spotted a thresher towing a caravan. Top speed on the motorway was around 15 MPH!! And we got to observe a Field Marshal tractor being started. The process begins with fitting and lighting a starting paper. Then the hand crank is fitted and you wind like f*%k (WLF). Click here for a 475KB mpeg. SWEET!! ** BTW, WLF was also the advice the English engine guys gave ME regarding swinging up Fat Bastard.

Returning home tired but happy, Dolly had a nice lasagna for us with new potatoes and cheesecake for dessert. YUM!! Wotta gal!! Monday promises to be one helluva day. The USA team takes on archrival Mexico and we set off on a weeklong narrowboat cruise on the Grand Union Canal.

And Coming Up:

Part 2 A Narrowboat Cruise on the Grand Union Canal
Part 3 1000 Engine Rally and Anson Museum
Part 4 Pubs, Shopping and Starting Tillie
Part 5 Belgium and Dover Castle
Part 6 Abbey Pumping Station Urban Rally
Part 7 Peter Forbes & Melton Mowbray
Part 8 Philip Thornton-Evison & Tony Harcombe's Museum
Part 9 Roland's Yard
Part 10 POETS Day and Hollowell Steam Show
Part 11 The London Eye and Imperial War Museum

And TYRYA? Time will tell…

Of course, don't forget to check out the
Alternative TYRA, created by Rob Skinner and Dolly French, while waiting for the Real TYRA :->>

* It was only a couple of days before this trip started, after all - Dolly

** The Field Marshall in this Mpeg is a Mark III, on which the engine rotation was reversed. The Series I and II rotated clockwise, and suffered from a "bounce" which could be seen on the ... er ... larger tractor drivers and their fat wobbled in tune with the engine. The Series III runs counter-clockwise, eliminating this problem ;-) - Dolly

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