Monthly Archives: March 2012

Another Season Begins

To Oulton Park last Saturday, for the first track meeting of the season (for me, that is — there was an MSVR event on the 17th, but I couldn’t make that one).

BARC March 2011

It was a BARC National Championship meeting featuring NW Sports Saloons, Citroen 2CV, Intersteps, Production Touring Cars, and two classes of Minis. The 2CV’s are fun for the first few laps, but tend to become a bit tedious once they get strung out a bit. Of the rest, there was good racing at some point in most of the races, so generally an enjoyable day.

No hands-on marshalling, though we came a bit close once or twice, and collected several undertray sections from a couple of the Intersteps.

Weather was excellent, given the time of year, so a good start to the season.

Lakes Break 2012

Enjoyed our usual Spring Break in the Lakes, despite less-than-ideal weather. Most of the time it was pretty grey and overcast, but at least we avoided rain until the Friday.

Grasmere lake

Weds 14 March

Off to a bad start when, after leaving home at 8:30 with the expectaion of a Little Chef breakfast in Middlewich, we arrived there to find it has closed down. Consequently had to settle for an underwhelming and over-priced fry-up at the Knutsford Motorway Services.

Pressed on to Windermere, where we had the obligatory browse round the Lakeland store, followed by nice coffee and cake in the restaurant upstairs. Wandered once round the town, where nothing much appears to have changed.

Being too early to go straight to the hotel, decided to make use of our newly resurrected National Trust membership, with a visit to Townend House. Very interesting place. Thence on up into the clouds, to the Kirkstone Inn for a pleasant pint by an open fire.

Down via The Struggle to Ambleside and so to Grasmere, where The Swan was a welcoming and pleasant as ever. I was sure I’d booked the Four Poster room, but we were given 27, another feature room, which seemed quite acceptable.

Strolled down to the village for a look round; no significant change that we noticed. Back to the hotel for a snooze.

Nice meal in the restaurant. For me: haggis neeps & tatties, followed by guine fowl, with lemon cheesecake to finish. For JL: fishcake, then mushroom ravioli, and autumn fruits mess.

Thurs 15th

Walked round the lake in the morning.

Drove to Keswick, taking the road round the west side of Thirlmere. Mooched around the town, having a look in George Fisher, of course. Very sad to find that Cornerwise whisky shop was having a closing down sale: learned from the guy in charge of the sell-off that Mary died of cancer 22nd December — end of an era (30 years, apparently).

Back to Grasmere for afternoon tea at the garden centre.

Another nice meal; restaurant quiet (service too slow, pudding wise).Both had the smoked haddock scotch egg starter, then chicken and ribeye steak, and both finished with the mess.

Friday 16th

Woke to find rain overnight and more in prospect, so abandoned plan to do a walk near Tarn Hows and instead made for Penrith. Weather not too bad by the time we got there, so were able to explore the town. Chief find was an interesting food shop:

James & John Graham, Family Grocers

And so finally back to Garstang, calling in on Sylvia in Kendal for a short visit.

Life’s little ups and downs

Just enjoyed a very pleasant eveningĀ  in Rusholme with the Boys from Barclays (now mostly ex-Barclays, it has to be said).

Couple or jars in The Albert and a nice curry in the Dar Bar. Then just when you’re thinking life is pretty good, it all goes pear-shaped.

Left the restaurant in plenty of time; reached the bus stop just as a bus arrived; hopped on the bus without looking too hard at the destination – well, they all go straight up Oxford Road, don’t they? well no, actually they don’t, this one turned left at RNCM, heading for Salford!

So I end up legging it the rest of the way to Picadilly and am just in time to see the 22:35 leaving platform 6.

That’s the last direct train for Crewe; so now I’m on the rail replacement bus service with an ETA of 01:55


Sunshine and Showers in Grizedale

Good day out at the Malcolm Wilson Rally on Saturday, marshalling Special Stage 4 (Grizedale North) in mixed conditions.

Approaching Hawkshead around 9.00, after an easy drive from Garstang in not much over an hour, it seemed a bit early to sign on, so hung around in the car park for a half hour or so, listening to the radio and to the sound of rain drumming on the car roof; at that point it looked as if we were in for a pretty damp day.

Made my way to the stage start for around 9.45 and after a brief wait was assigned to Junction 6 where I found a fellow Oulton marshal already in attendance. Looked like a pretty good position: fairly sharp right-hander in an open spot with good views of the approach. (Wish I’d remembered my camera!) First car was expected around noon, so we had the usual bit of hanging around; some chat with speccies as they began to arrive. Weather began to look a lot more hopeful as the morning wore on.

Zero car came through about 11.50 and the first group began ten minutes later; we were surprised to find it was not the top guys, but the third group, and it seems the running order for the three groups had been reversed. This was a good thing, IMHO, as it means the day gets more interesting as it goes on, but can’t help thinking the fast boys would prefer to have first go, before the surface gets chewed up!

Weather took a turn for the worse just after 1 o’clock, with heavy rain and a cold wind for a while, but eventually brightened up, so we had bright sunshine for best part of an hour later on.

Our only bit of marshal activity came about two thirds of the way through the second section, when a Mk II Escort pulled up with throttle problems. We got him off to the side until the next break and then pushed him back into the junction. Pushing cars is a lot easier on a circuit than a muddy forest track!!

A good day’s rallying was enjoyed, despite the nastier bits of weather. The final bit of interest came when driving out of the stage: we were held up while a recovery team dragged a Corsa back out the forest, where it had dropped off a steep slope after negotiating about 75Ā° of a 90Ā° corner.