18 years ago
and this Tuesday was the day. I needed to deliver the Bayliss & Morcombe
tachometer (too posh to be called a rev counter!) I'd promised Paul, two
film cans of Mercury courtesy of John Manders and a couple of pressure
gauges I've had in the car for so long (Enstone, I think) that I must own up
to forgetting who donated them to Paul - sorry ........
Anyway, the day was dull and muggy but not raining & we set off along the M4
making what I like to call Reasonable Progress and Hazel calls ruder things.
According to Autoroute, it's 171 miles from my front door to Paul's car park
and the program thinks I could make it in a minute under four hours. Paul
maintains he can be at the M4/5 junction in two hours and it took me just
over three, so I quietly remove my hat and stand silently by in his presence
Castell Pridd Farm is 8 miles north of Cardigan just off the A487 Cardigan
to Aberystwyth main road. They are just to the north of the village of
Tanygroes, 300yds down the Betws Ifan road. In a series of farm buildings,
properly converted to exhibit the engines, Paul Evans and a very few helpers
have worked astoundingly hard to get the museum up and running in such a
short time. With few exceptions (works in progress) all the engines
exhibited run and Paul went out of his way to ensure I saw and heard them
all started. The big twin Tange is very impressive and powerful & I took
lots of photos (details later) . We sat and chatted for ages to both him and
Hazel (he's got one too!) and were made very welcome. I join the others on
this NG who thoroughly recommend a visit there. In parting, although I'd
forgotten to take the damned B&M tacho with me, Paul generously hauled out a
partly dismantled gas powered ex GPO water pump and we plonked it in the
back of the Volvo.
And so to Lake Vrnwy in North Wales to look at birds and soak up the
scenery. We spent most of the day there, setting off to visit Arthur Griffin
and Jenni Stanton in the late afternoon. Driving along a fast A road, I was
amazed to see a trailer mounted Lister three cylinder air cooled engine
direct coupled to a 8KVA genny in a lay by. It was in everyday use,
providing the nearby chip van with electrickery. I stopped and took
pictures, much to the shaky-heady amusement of the shapely young lady who
was just closing up. I got the distinct impression that I was a fairly
Arthur swept by in Chirk and led us to his retreat at the head of a remote
valley some five miles away - and I really do mean remote ;o)) Idyllic is
another term I might use and I could have spent a lot of days sitting on the
wall looking at "his" valley as it stretched away into the woods and fields.
Visits to various stone built barns revealed a locally built Powell and more
Bamfords than you could shake a (hinged) stick at. A Lister B is undergoing
restoration and will be a tidy job when finished.
It turned out that Jenni used to live on Mendip and Arthur used to climb
under them, so we had lots to talk about and Hazel and I felt very welcome.
The sheep and poultry fed, it was off into the village for dinner at the
Trying to get a signal, I was standing outside when a Veteran Douglas
puttered down the hill and stopped. I was walking up to him to say Hi when a
Veteran Roc hoved into view, followed at short notice by a Clarion of
similar years. Paddling off down hill, the Douglas puttered into life,
negotiated the unknowing and care less pedestrians who walked out in front
of the brakeless, clutchless, direct drive bike as he wobbled round in a
circle and with an apologetic grin in my direction, he chuffed off up the
hill in pursuit of his friends. Going well and their exhaust notes chiming
in and out, they swept off up the hill out of sight, a visit from another
Although Arthur and Jenni most kindly offered their spare room, I didn't
much fancy re-negotiating his now pitchy black dark track in the Volvo with
it's four inches of ground clearance and alas, there was no room at the inn,
so I prevailed upon a good friend from my Other Hobby in Shrewsbury only 25
miles away and arrived on his doorstep at 10.30pm. Much fat was chewed and
midnight oil burned ...
Next day, we dropped in at Ironbridge near Telford and I was amazed to find
so many "museums" had sprung up in the few years since I was there last. I
found a Crossley gas engine on a trolley at one museum, but I especially
wanted to see the iron smelter in action - partly from a professional
viewpoint - but it turns out it only pours on Wednesdays. Not that anyone
tells you that on the desk when asking you for your £8.50 each, you
understand, but it was a hot day and I snuck in through the open back door
of the merchandising outlet and found someone that did know.
Off then to the Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge to look at more birds, Hazel
getting her revenge for me enthusing about engines in all their boring
And so home, a very pleasant three days away. Photos up tomorrow.