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
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
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.
exactly." Good fun
was had by all.
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,
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
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:
||A Narrowboat Cruise on the Grand Union Canal
||1000 Engine Rally and Anson Museum
||Pubs, Shopping and Starting Tillie
||Belgium and Dover Castle
||Abbey Pumping Station Urban Rally
||Peter Forbes & Melton Mowbray
||Philip Thornton-Evison & Tony Harcombe's Museum
||POETS Day and Hollowell Steam Show
||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