The French Blatting Company


August 2018


Oh well, the first of August already. Only just over 2 weeks to the Coast-to-Coast run. Most of it is in place, the money is all in and paid, the tea rooms and pubs are all set up, the hotels are full and I've started planning next years run.

Today we are going to Hadfield Hall, we'll spend the day there and then go to Dronfield Woodhouse for the MG Octagon Car Club Meeting. We'll lunch at the hall and have a sandwich at the club meetimg which is at Gosforth Fields Sports Assoc club house. I'm looking forward to it.

We arrived at the sports fields early but within minutes we were shown the coned off area reserved for the MG club driving tests. We parked up and five minutes later a Porsche drives in. It's the chairman of the Chesterfield group and he knows us. After him the chap from the Octagon club arrives. So, this is the Chesterfield group meeting which comprises the MGCC, MGOC and MGOCC, Now I understand. A few cars did the driving  tests, I politely declined. We had a drink in the bar as everyone came up but we had to go as it was getting dark and we had at least an hour to drive. As it happens we got home in an hour. Next month we'll go in a "proper" car and stay until the end.


We picked Malakai up at 1000 and took him to Jodrell Bank. Great day and he and Lynne went to a seminar in the afternoon. Got him back home at 1630.

The new Li-Ion battery for the Caterham with a 5p piece in front of it. Not sure if it'll be up to starting the car, we'll see.

The 5p piece has jumped on top, still a tiny battery and weighs next to nothing.


Had a terrible night, it was so hot I hardly slept. Been sleeping most of the day and in between I've fitted a new breather pipe to the MG and drained the tank of the Caterham and refilled with 10 litres of fresh super. Oh, first thing I got Lynne's car washed and filled, I'll now go and top up oil and water.


The new clear plastic breather pipe, isn't it sexy? No, Oh well, whatever turns you on.

One, tiny, tiny, weightless battery installed. I've fitted rivnuts to the bulkhead platform rather than two odd coloured plastic rawplugs.

The bigger picture, tiny isn't it.


As planned we all met at Wooley Edge services and set off for Hebden Bridge. Had a great time with lovely friendly people. Tony (tonybassplayer from MGOC forum) came over to say hello. We got home about 1700.

The cars lined up in the car park at Wooley Edger Services.....

Two TC's.....

.... now unattended.

Must be the smallest Jack Russell I've ever seen.

Some people came equipped... we came with nothing and paid £6 each for horrible burgers.

Look, they've evn got wine!

Nosey. The cars not the bloke with the sticks.

A very smart RV8 engine and bay.

From the opposite end.

Someone remarked that we do this often.


We leave at 0640 and drive to Morecambe. Get there and fill up at Tesco (or was it Sainsburies). Make our way to the Midland who can't serve us breakfast becauee they have 80 guests coming down for breakfast. What are they goiung to do on 18th when they have to feed 191 people! We leave at 0830 and get to the Marton Arms for 1015. Heather serves us breakfast, she doesn't care haw many she has to feed! Leave at 1048 and make our way over the top and through Hawes which is jammed packed full of bikers and their bikes. We arrive at the Farmers Arms for 1255, have a carvery and leave at 1335, so only 40 minutes. Back on the road we get to the afternoon tea stop, which is a secret so I can't say, otherwise I'll have to swear you all to secrecey, for 1545. We have 2 enormous ice cream sundaes, well it is Sunday!. Leave at 1625 and get to the NCP car park in Scarborough at 1700. I collect the 50% discount tickets and we set off for home with me driving. Lynne did the drive from Morecambe to the Scarborough and she did it extremely well. I've awarded her the driver of the day award.

Could you eat this?

Well, could you.... I did.


I had to ring EE and cancel the 4G internet system. I tried, really I did. Eventually I found a phone number which took 5 minutes to navigate to a person and I was held for 15 minutes when I just gave up. I've cancelled the DD so that should get them ringing me. I sent out the emails for the final instructions for next weekend at Morecambe.


Got the Elise MOT'd, no real problems, just that the front tyres are getting low, which I know and will replace next month.


I went to the doctor to get an appointment for an x-ray on my back to see if my vertebrae are healed. He examined me and decided an x-ray was a good idea. I thought so and that is why I was there!. He asks me to collect a slip of paper with the hospital phone number to make an appointment. Lynne rings it for me and comes in, "can you make it for 1330 today?" "Yers" and that was that. I left at 1200, got the car washed and arrived at the hospital at 1230. However, I was seen straight away and the x-ray involved laying on a bed first on my back then on my side. All done, I was home for 1310.

I have started to print and stuff the route booklet with the 24 A5 pages. It's not easy.


Continue printing and stuffing, should be finished by tonight, Steve Wallace calls in to measure parts of the TC so he can finish his frame. He had to rush off as he was on his way to see his mother who is not well.


Work on the TC all day. Clean the N/S/R brakes of oil and this time apply flange sealer to the half shaft flange, that may stop the oil leaking all over the brakes. Adjust all the brakes and grease most nipples. Top up oil and make a third strap for Lynnes door. I also tighten both door striker plates. Only the 7 to finsih now/


Physio at 0800, get there at 0715 and Matt has also just arrived. He is going up to Broomhill to get a coffee. I go in and wait. He arrives back twenty minutes later, "Oh, I didn't realised you were going to Columbia for the beans" brings a smile, but only just.He kills me!

We're off to the first football match of the season. We're playing HUll who score firts and we get a penalty to even it up. That's how it finished, 1-1. We must do better then this if we're to get into the play offs.

After the match we go to Paul and Tanya's and have Chinese. Paul said it didn't look nice and I agreed it wasn't that good. Got home at 1000 and I went to bed and slept through to 1100 next morning.


We were siupposed to meet everyone from MGOC at Ferrybridge Services to go to Patley Bridge. We missed it as we were still in bed. However I did leave a message on Pat's phone and she did ring me back... but hadn't seen the message. It had stopped raining and they had a good day. I just spent the day sleeping.


Spent most of the day printing stuff and organising the last minute things for the Coast-to-Coast, which is next Saturday.


Set of at 0630 for Bradford to collect 100 carrier bags from Moss-Europe, the classic car parts supplier. Got there about 45 minutes early. Collected bags and some MGB spares (which will be returned next week, if not used). Then followed the satnav to Morecambe. Moss are on the Ilkely side of Bradford so it took me up to Skipton which I expected. However, before we got there it took me down some country lanes and then down a single track road which was 5 miles long with the first 3 uphill. When I reached the end I joined the M65 to Preston, the the last bit of the M61 and onto the M6. I spent tha day at the Midland Hotel making up the C2C packs, with names on for those dining on the Friday night. Left at about 1600 and got home at 1800. Went to bed at 2200 and slept through to 0700, most unusual for me!


Did the finishing touches to the MG. Fitted the correct fog lamp bracket (it hand a RH on the LH side), fitted a new air cleaner element and then removed the tank unit and bent the arm so it comes on when there's two and a half gallons left in the tank. It was coming on at the one and half gallon mark but as I'd fitted a copper extension pipe to the outlet so it never picks up fuel from the bottom of the tank it always left a gallon in the tank. The fuel light should now come on when there's a gallon and a half usable fuelk left. I washed the car in the afternoon then went out to book an MOT for the Caterham, pick up Lynne's prescriptrion and fill the car ready for the trip to Morecambe on Friday. In the evening we went into Barnsley and I bought a tin of "upside down" paint to marke the road where I want coasters to stop for photo's and then to Halfords for a full repair kit. This consists of WD40, if someone has something that won't move and should, a roll of duct tape if someone has something moving which shouldn't, a pack of epoxy resin if it's moving a lot and shouldn't and some Radweld. We then went on to Rotherham for the MG Owners Club Meeting which is always a good meet as they are such a fun crowd. We wnet to bed jaust gone midnight but were downstairs at 0300 having a cuppa.

Correct fog lamp bracket at last.

... closer.


I'm downstairs at 0600 getting everything sorted for the C2C tomorrow. I'm only doing the blog because I want to delete all the photos on the cameras so I have plenty of space to picture 98 cars on Saturday morning.



We set off at 0630 and went via Huddetsfield, Halifax and Bolton. We stopped for breakfast 6 miles this side of Blackburn at 0900.  At this point I decided we needed to get a move on so we took to the M65. M61 and M6 into Preston then the A6 to Lancaster. The car performed faultlessly, we trundles along at 60 mph (4000 rpm). Teice I moved to the hard shoulder to let artics past, for which I got a nice flash of the indicators. I had to drop a route pack off at a B&B on the Lancaster end of the route because one participant was staying there overnight for a reason I can't remember. I set the satnav to go to the road,  Ir did it's job and took us off the A6 before Lancaster. We got to the road we wanted and it (satnav) told us to turn right. I thought this was wrong because we'd been under the M6 and I knew the B&B was just before the M6 on this road (confused, I was). Lynne says "Why do you have a satnav and argue with it". OK, I turned right knowing it was wrong. Three miles along the road Lynne accpts we should have turned left so I turn around and go back, past where we joined the road, under the M6 and into the B&B just where I thought it would be. I didn't say anything, I wanted to live. From there we went into Lancaster and rejoined the A6. We got to the Skirton Bridge and I was going to turn left and cross it, Lynne says the sign says Morecambe straight on. I must have been in a good mood because I listened to her. However, we were planning on stopping at Sainsbury's to fill up at 1.219 per litre. I thought that we would miss it so we pulled into a petrol station on the road we were on. Only 1.289 ppl. We continued and I then realised where it was taking us, to the huge junction by the college which was three minutes from the Skirton Bridge. We get there ten minutes later, turned right and went past Sainsbury's flogging fuel at 1.219 ppl.

Arrived at the Midland Hotel and took the box of stuff we had brought with us in. I asked for all the carrier bags they had in the downstairs storage. They were brought up in a few minutes. We ordered tea and coffe and I asked for the place names so we could set them on the tables then place a carrier bag with the route book, event plaque, cable ties and last minute directions on each drivers seat. We finished at 1330 and had lunch in the Rotunda Bar. After Lunch we went to the room set our bag down and Lynne went to bed and I went to the bar. On the way down I met John and Debbie who we've known since they stayed at the Gites in France some years ago. We got some drinks and settled down at a table in the bar too do some catching up. As the afternoon wore on more and more "Coasters" came in I was being greeted by them. I was wearing a very bright yellow sun hat and had asked reception to tell anyone who was looking for me to find "the idiot in the yellow hat". It took a minute or two to convince them it was OK to tell them that. Lynne came down in due course and all 121 diners assembled in the banqueting suite for 2015. I gave then a few minutes talk to explain the procedure for the morning and we started the meal. It was very good, and the service was excellent. I had booked a couple who gave us an after dinner presentation on the North West Air Amulance Service. We then passed the bucket around and the couple seemed delighted with the money raised.

We crawled into bed at about midnight.


I was downstairs at 0600 setting up Lynnes table in the Rotunda Bar. She had 34 packs to give out. At 0755 I went outside and positioned myself and camera on a tripod to take pictures of everyone as they left. The iconic facade of the hotel is in the background. Mike, who lived in Blackpool and was also a guest at the gites turned up and kept me company as I sat on a chair in the middle of the road. It wasn't as bad as it sounds, I was between the central reservation. At 1015 I was ready to go and Mike volunteered to take a picture of us leaving then we could chuck the camera and tripod in the back and set off.

We arrived at the morning tea stop to find the Marton Arms were not charging anyone for the tea/coffe and cake. We had called in a few weeks earlier and were at the bar explaining to Liam that two couples would call in before the first "coasters" and they should be served and "I'll pay for them when I arrive" The two couples were Rob and Leslie who would be taking pictures at Goathland amd Tony and Debbie who would be snapping away on the road from the Marton Arms to Dent. Problem was Heather, Liam's partner and the landlady came out of the noisy kitchen and only heard the last part of the sentance and assumed I would pay for everyone. So, not wanting an argument we estimated how many had been in and I paid her £690. I've explained the error to all the coasters and they are re-imbursing me. I had to laugh as I saw the funny side of it. We then carried on and met Tony just up the hill. He took our picture. We carried on the fantastic road with Nick, in a a modified TA, following. We were last to arrive at the Farmers Arms in Brompton-on-Swale, next to Catterick racecourse. We had our carvery and very nice it was too. The young lad asked for our voucher (everyone had paid a £10 entry fee which they got back in the form of a voucher towards lunch). I explained that I'd organised the trip and didn't bother paying muself £10 so we'd pay the full price. He just looked at me, shrugged and took £10 off the bill anyway. We were off again in 25 minutes as the next leg was probably the longest but the roads were better and faster. We arrived at Goathland, which is the location of TV's Heartbeat and parked on the grass and popped into the cafe. I had made arrangements with the owners that they would give me £25 sponsorship if they did well. They gave me £40, they were so delighted with the trade they'd had. We then drove up the road a few hundred yards and there was Rob and Leslie happily snapping away as the cars passed Scripps Garage. We had  a quick chat and a possee of cars stopped behind us so we set off in convoy to Scarborough. Nick was still behind us and wanted fuel so I said we'd stop at the bottom of Blue Bank. Concemtrating on finding the small filling station I missed the right turn that would have cut off a huge corner going through Whitby. I pressed on but it must have added half hour to our journey. We got into Scarborough, parked in the NCP multi storey (I had 50% discount tickets for everyone), took our bag and camera and walked around the corner to the pub I'd arranged for everyone to meet in. We walked in and the music was so loud I had to shout my order for drinks. I asked the landlady if a lot of our coasters had been in and she looked very forlorn when telling me thay hadn't. I wasn't surprised, the music was deafening. We met our friends Gavin and Claire and had a quick chat before they sey of home to Leeds. It was short walk to the hotel. We were last in and only had fifteen minutes before dinner started. Eighty Eight of us sat down to dinner and , like the Midland the meal was superb. We fell into bed at midnight again, very tired but buzzing that everything had gone so well.

Just leaving the Midland Hotel

Going past Scripps Undertakers and Garage.... it's a souvenir shop now.

Three T Types in the front of the Midland Hotel. Took a bit of organising to get them there.

Not sure how the B got there, was supposed to be the old crocks cars only.

Just like licourice, all sorts.

Some people just can't stop polishing.....

More T Types.

The car on the right is Nick's TA special.

The front of the Midland Hotel with the famous Eric Gill designed sea horses.

Do you think I have an interest in T Types?


Us men! We've always got to tinker.

He's still at it, I have no idea how the foriegner got parked there.

That was an expensive cup of tea... I didn't even get cake.


We just had the day off and chilledWe had to walk into the high street to get a phone charger because ours was in a box that Gavin had taken with him as we had no room. We had some lunch and then went back to the hotel and slept the afternoon away. In the evening we went to an Italian restaraunt recommended by our daughter, Tanya got it spot on, great meal.


We left the hotel at about 10 and took a nice drive home avoiding the motorway. The afternoon was spent downloading pictures, cropping and reducing them. I had to adjust the handbrake on the Caterham and Lynne helped me bleed the clutch. It's all ready for its MOT tomorrow. 


Took the Caterham for its MOT and he passed it asking me to fit some motorbike reflectors. I'll do that and I've got to adjust the headlights. I started writing the articles on the C2C for the club magazines. I also sent out preliminary emails about next years Peaks to Lakes.Problem was they didn't go, just sat in the outbox. Some of the single destination emails went but those with 160 receipients were stuck. I tried breaking them into ten receipients each email, some went others didn't. I was really pulling my hair out, no I wasn't, I haven't got much left to pull out. After a few hours of this I got a send/recieve error message. My email server supplier is blocking my emails. I ring them only to be told the limit is 500 per day and I can't upgrade. I search the web for an alternative, this is giving me and the "Coasters" grief. Why the coasters, well because when trying to find out what the problem was I must have send some on the mailing list a dozen emails.


We went shopping in the morning and then took the Mini back to the garage that had serviced it a few weeks earlier. The engine management light and the brake warning lights are coming on. We left the car there and went to the office were I spent time buying a licence for Microsoft Office Exchange365. We then went to Meadowhall to eat and on to Football. When we got inside the ground Lynne went to the loo and came back saying she didn't feel well and had difficulty breathing but would be OK. When we got to the car on the way out I asked her if she wanted to go to the hospital. To my surprise she said yes, I was going to take her anyway. We fought through the traffic and got to Northern General A&E. I went to the check in and told the lady that Lynne was having an asthma attack. She quickly booked her in then got up and brought a nurse out straight away. Lynne was taken into a cubicle and put on a nebulizer. A nurse took blood for testing and the doctor examined and questioned her.They took her to the medical asessmement department and she made me go home. By the time I left she was fine. I got home and attempted to get the emails working. I failed and went to bed.


Up very early, couldn't sleep. Started work on post C2C stuff and at 0800 rang the support line for the emails. They were in the Philipines and I spoke to four people before being told I couldn't mix a pop3 (UK2) and an Exchange system on the same outlook system. Of course the salesman had said "of course you can do that". I was then put in touch with the UK based exchange 365 support team. Over the next few days we worked through pointing the UK2 server to the Microsoft one. Each time I updated a DNS record and it didn't work I was asked to add another record. Back to Lynne and hospitals. I had a cat scan booked at 1220 in Barnsley Hospital. At about 11 Lynne rings and asks if I can bring her medication as the doctor wants to see it. I jump in the car and drive to Sheffield. The ward she's in now is a long walk from A&E, by the time I get there I'm exhausted. I give her the pills, have a cup of tea and set of for Barnsley HospitaI, get back about 3pm and walk in to see Lynne with a face like thunder. Rather than type it all up again I'll copy a post I've put on the MGOC forum.  

Save typing it all again, this is a copy of an email to a friend who is suing the NHS because of negligence due to understaffing. He hasn't been able to work for the last 4 years since the problem in a hospital. The NHS has admitted liability and are just negotiating the damages.



OK, just coming down off the ceiling.

Wednesday night we were at football and Lynne didn’t feel good and had difficulty breathing. I took her into A&E at Northern General in Sheffield. They had her on a nebulizer and she was OK within the hour. Add to this the problem I had with my emails. I’m organising next year’s run – Peaks to Lakes, I’ve attached the poster. On Tuesday I notice my emails are stuck in the outbox. I can’t see any errors, send and receive acts normally with no errors but the emails are still there. I start breaking up the recipients and do the emails again but to 10 at a time instead of the 160 in one. Some go but then they stop. At about 5pm I notice a send/receive error. It says the mail server has blocked my emails because I’ve exceeded the 500 daily limit. I ring them and ask if I can upgrade… NO, we only have one email server package and it’s limited to 500 a day. On Wednesday I purchase a MS exchange365 mail server licence, 1500 addresses in one email and 10,000 emails a day. Problem is, because I have my own domain and it takes a week to port to the new supplier they have to get my existing UK2 mail box pointing to the MS mail server. They make several errors and then, when they get it right, it takes the last change 25 hours to propagate. End result is I have no email system for 2 days. Not sure what was worse, no wife or no emails but don’t tell her I said that.

OK, the NHS.

The medical appraisal ward she was sent to (they wanted to know what caused the asthma arrack, she was fine by this time) was 50% down on nurses. The nursing (and nursing assistants) were really good, but just couldn’t cope. Lynne had to help a patient who was choking and call a nurse (loudly) to help, the nurse said it would have been serious if Lynne hadn’t called. Then she helped an elderly lady to get out of bed to go to the loo before she strangled her self and fell over all the drip pipes attached to her. The nurses just didn’t have time to help. She helped the lady next to her as well. Now, this ward had beds on one side and reclining chairs on the other, it was full and Lynne and the others on her side had to sleep in the reclining chairs. They are desperately short of beds. One nursing assistant (more about this later) said the hospital is “full” of elderly patients who can be discharged but can’t be found places in care homes. Apparently the care homes let all the rooms of the inmates who go into hospital because they don’t get paid if the patient is in hospital. The elderly patients, upon release, can’t be found a place in any care home. The lady next to Lynne’s chair, these chairs were very close together, only separated by the small hospital bedside cupboards, was, I think Philippine and her English wasn’t that good. She understood but you had to talk to her slowly. Two doctors came and told her they would get her into a ward with a bed and that she was staying in. Her husband came, she told him this so he told her he would go to work, he was on a night shift. Half hour later a snooty lady comes and sits down and starts telling the patient that she is discharging her and will get a taxi to take her home. The poor girl doesn’t understand. Not only what’s being said but she can’t be sent home as there’s no one there, her husband has gone to work. She looks at Lynne, about 18 inches away and asks her for help. Lynne says to Miss Snooty “She doesn’t understand, she was told she is staying in and now her husband has gone to work and there’s no one at home”. Miss Snooty explodes, she starts shouting at Lynne that it’s not her business and there is patient confidentiality ,,,, blah, blah, blah. Lynne is not the sort of person to mess with. She retaliates and tells Miss Snooty how wrong she is. Miss Snooty calls the ward sister who also gets involved and takes Miss Snooty’ s side. The ward sister spent the rest of the day avoiding Lynne. The other nurses gave Lyne winks of encouragement. Lynne was then moved to the adjacent ward and got a bed. By this time I’d left for the night. Next morning I get a text that she’s been moved and is now on another ward.

The Northern General is a massive hospital. It has its own road system and car parking is all over the place (and expensive!). I go on to the hospital web site expecting to see where the nearest car park is to the ward. No such thing. I go there and park where I think is close. I pay £2.50 for 4 hours. And walk, and walk and walk. This hospital could give Hampton Court lessons in how to build a maze! The doors you go in are all numbered so I make a mental note I’ve gone through door 24. Only problem is that inside this huge maze there is not one sign with a door number on it!.

Lynne has rung me to say the doctor is due at 4 ish and will give her a prescription and release her. They did want to keep her in until her peak flow went above 250. Lynne asked if she could ring her husband to sell the house because she was going to be spending the rest of her life in hospital as her peak flow will never be over 250. They agreed she could go home. I get there at 1615, we are waiting for the prescription to come down. Lynne and I are talking to the nurses. They are getting on great with Lynne, she’s helping all the other patients and it’s taking some of the pressure off the staff. I’m told by the senior nurse that the old system with a prescription pad worked well and it would take 15-20 minutes to get a prescription to the ward. The management team thought it would be a good idea to modernise the system, it now takes 4 hours-progress!

I got talking to two nursing assistance. They were up in arms. They do everything a nurse will do except administer medicines. They get £8 per hour and are doing all the work. They tell me that new nurses arrive fresh out of university and have no idea how to take blood pressure, put a caffeta in, or indeed, any of normal nursing duties. They also said it was the same for Philippine nurses, who could do all the jobs but couldn’t speak English. However their main gripe was they were terrified of making a mistake due to the pressure they were under and a patient dying. They would then be in court for malpractice and not be able to work again.

The staff were fantastic. The receptionist at A&E booked Lynne in and then got a nurse to take Lynne in and start treatment right away. The nurses and doctors in A&E were literally running to try and keep up, so heavy was the work load. On the assessment ward there was a young male nurse. He was as camp as you could get but he was a totally dedicated nurse. He missed his lunch, worked at least an hour after his shift was over. When I asked him why (I knew the answer) he just looked at me and said “I can’t leave these poor people suffering, can I darling” This chap is worth his weight in platinum, problem is, he told me , they all leave because they are frightened of making a mistake and killing or injuring someone. That was twice I was told that. At one point Lynne said something like who could she complain to about Miss Snooty. I responded with “Number 10 Downing Street” as I’m sure the poor girl flew into a rage because she was being overworked.

This is not the way to run a hospital. I’ve said the root problem is the government want to run our services as if they were businesses, well this is not the way to run a business either.

Lynne has always complained about me getting het up about our NHS. She now see’s why and agrees with me.

Anyway, get yourself a car and come on the Peaks to Lakes next year, it’s not solely for MG’s we had Chris E. in his 7 and a TR7, a Porsche, a couple of Mercs as well as lots of MG’s….. Oh and a Chesil 365 replica Porsche 365.

Simon came in to see Lynne and after we went for a drink. I got home, had something to eat and went to bed. Still no emails.


I spoke to Lynne when she was up and she informed me she had been moved and had a private room and a proper bed. She said not to come to the hospital, I could sort out the emails and come for her when they released her. I spent from 0600 to 2200 (apart from the 5 hours picking Lynne up) talking to 365 support trying to get the emails working.


I rang the email support at 0900. I spoke to someone I didn't know. I politely told him that if it wasn't fixed by 1000 I would have to cancel the contract and take another route to solve my problem. In the event we didn't get it to work but it started to work at 1700, the last changes we made to the DNS records took 25 hours to propergate. For the non technical it's like planting a flower bulb which should flower in 2-4 hours taking 25 to come out the ground.


Spent the day finishing articles for the four club magazines. They will be sent to the editors next week along with some pictures. All the articles and pictures are different. I'll publish them here but, of course, they may not get printed at all or may edited by the cheif head hitter. These have not been proofed or read by anyone else but me yet. Lynne will read them to see if they flow and make sense tomorrow when I'm out.

This is for the Midget & Sprite Club (MASC)

What do you do when you’re bored?

Well, this idiot decided to organise a Coast-to-Coast trip for the MG community. I thought I’d get 30 cars, if I was lucky. So, how does 98 cars and 191 people sound? That’s how many drove from the iconic, Eric Gill designed Midland Hotel in Morecambe, to the Mount Hotel in Scarborough on 18th August.

This little project of mine just kept getting bigger and bigger.

We started the weekend with a banquet for 121 MG owners (actually a few had other cars, but I’m not a snob so allowed them to take part). The Saturday morning started at 7 with Lynne, my wife manning a desk to hand out the pack containing the route book, event plaque and a few pages of last minute instructions. Bacon sarnies and tea/coffee were on tap provided by the excellent hotel staff.

The cars started leaving at 8 with me sat in the road by the side of the central reservation taking pictures of the cars as they left with the famous frontage of the hotel as the background. The last car, me, in my 1949 TC, left at 10:15.

The first stop was morning tea at te Marton Arms in Far Westhouse. Then up a fantastic road with three cattle gates (maybe that should be “sheep gates”) and the final part in countryside that was truly spectacular. We had a very gifted amateur photographer, Tony Keogh, on this road and he photographed every car with the Dales as a background. The only problem so far was the weather. After all that heat, I awoke on the Monday before the event to see the Met Office forecasting heavy rain on the West side of the country. I could have cried, to be honest, I think I did. Next day the forecast was for light rain – getting better. By Friday it was just cloud and mist and no rain. Am I a lucky so and so. The pictures of this road are not too good due to the heavy mist. I may go back when the sun comes out again and take some pictures and put them on my web site (

Everyone then proceeded along great Yorkshire Dales roads to Catterick Racecourse for a carvery lunch at the Farmers Arms. The next stop had been kept a secret until the route books were given out on Friday night at the banquet and on the Saturday morning. It was Goathland, also known as Aidensfield in TV’s Heartbeat. Two more volunteers, Rob Woolfe and Leslie Brown had left Morecambe early so they could be in place, in front of the Goathland Hotel (Aidensfield Arms) and picture the cars as they went past Scripps Garage.

 The last stop was in Scarborough and I had negotiated with NCP for 50% discount vouchers so we could all park in their multi storey car park. 88 of us met at the Mount hotel for another banquet and a good night was had by all.

Folk had come form as far afield as Dover, Worcester and Scotland for this event and based on the 90 emails of thanks and various gifts I think all the sleepless nights were well worth it.

The participants thought it was so good that I’ve been asked to do another one next year. I am organising the MG 2019 Peaks to Lakes event, a two-day jaunt around the Peak and Lake Districts. Anyone who wants to join in, and spaces are limited to 200 people, should email me at

 This is for the MG Owners Club.

The 2018 Coast-to-Coast or “what have I started here”

We lived in France until July 2017, We had a ten acre non-working farm and I’d converted the small barn to be my workshop. I had a Case tractor of 1973 vintage, a ride on mower for the orchard, 5 cars (apart from our daily drivers) , lots of petrol driven machinery to maintain. It took three days to cut the grass and strim around the buildings. You could say I was kept busy.

We then moved back to a normal suburban house, I now have only two cars (apart from the Elise and Mini we use as daily drivers), we have no grass to cut as the “garden” is paved over. I was going to be bored over the winter, what could I do?

About 30 years ago I went on a Coast-to-Coast organised by someone in the Lotus 7 Club. (I have a Caterham). There were about thirty cars and we left from, the then derelict, Midland Hotel In Morecambe. Mind you I did wonder why this fabulous building which had fallen into dereliction was newly painted white on the outside. I later found out that the TV company had painted it and used the exterior in a Hercule Poirot programme.

The building has since been renovated, at a reputed cost of Fifty Million pounds, by the English Lakes Hotel Group.

I therefore thought I’d organise a classic car run from Morecambe to Scarborough and call it Coast-to-Coast. Thinking this would keep me busy  over the winter and would’nt involve much…… WRONG!

In the event I ended up with, on the day, 97 cars and 190 people. It grew from a a classic car run to a huge event with a banquet at the Midland on the Friday night for 121 people and another at the Mount Hotel in Scarborough on the Saturday for 88. I had to collect the money for the meals, sort out all the menu choices as well as arrange for two tea stops and lunch en-route.

I know the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors reasonably well as, when we lived in the Peak District, near Ladybower, I would go out early on Saturday mornings for a ”blat” in my Caterham. Some weeks I would “pop” up to to the area and drive the fabulous roads. My ever loving would be delighted by this practice, it gave her some peace and quiet away from me, in those days we worked together in my business that provides software systems for car dealers.

The purchase of half dozen OS large scale maps and a few days studying them gave me a route that was away from the normal Dales roads. There isn’t a lot of choice in the Moors as there are only two West to East main roads, but I did find a good route from Northallerton to the main A171 Whitby to Scarborough road. It took in Goathland, Aidensfield in TV’s Heartbeat as well as Hogwarts Station in the first Harry Potter film. I kept this a secret until the route books were handed out on the weekend of the run and had two volunteers, who left early, standing in front of the Goathland Hotel (Aidensfield Arms) taking pictures as everyone went past with Scripps Garage as the background. I’d sat in the middle of the road and taken pictures of the cars as they left the Midland with the Iconic frontage, with Eric Gill sea horses as a background. We also had an MG Owners Club member who is a very gifted amateur photographer positioned on a hill with the Dales as a background taking pictures as everyone went past.

I must admit, it turned out to be a mammoth task but I enjoyed doing it. The response after the event has been overwhelming, not one complaint and many emails like this one.

 Dear Lynne & Norman

What a fantastic two days we’ve had. Huge thanks to you both for a wonderfully organised & hugely successful adventure. We’ve never done a trip like this & from accounts of others we’ve started with the very best.

You thought of every detail: the course notes were easy to follow, the Midland & the Banquet superb, every stop well organised & welcoming. We saw some wonderful cars & enjoyed chatting to their owners - so many great, friendly, cheery people. The route took us on so many amazing, hidden roads through beautiful countryside & villages.

Thank you again & we look forward to more details about the next plan

 Ben & Ali Fuller 

With testimonials like that and nearly everyone else urging me to organise another next year how can I refuse. It’s called “Peaks to Lakes” and will be a two day event with, as the title suggests a trip across the main Peak District passes in the Derbyshire/Staffordshire area and then over the three Lake district passes on the Sunday. It’s nearly all arranged so if anyone wants to join in just email me ( and I’ll send you a booking form and more details,

Back to this year, that was the commercial break. We did the route four times, Lynne drove it three times and my son, in his Tesla, did it once with me. That was an experience, we chose the Sunday we had blizzard conditions across the North of England. The car, which has winter tyres on coped admirably. It was a challenge finding charging points in the middle of the Dales and Moors but we “popped” up to Scotch Corner when at Catterick and just made a note of the mileage and deducted it from the trip reading thereafter.

The week before the event where hectic to say the least. I had bought A5 folders with ring binders and the pockets for them. I had to print twelve double sides A5 pages and make up 98 route books, that was fun! Then I had arranged with Carl (the T type owners will probably know Carl) at Moss Bradford to collect a hundred of their carrier bags to put the route books, the event plaque (which I made myself on a laminating machine), the cable ties for it and a few pages of last minute instructions including how to drive slowly past Scripps Garage in Aidensfield, er, Goathland.  I also was going to buy a selection of MGB spares as the MGB was the most common entrant and I wanted to be prepared for any breakdowns. More about this later…. I then went to the midland with the carrier bags and all the boxes of goodies to go in the bags and spent the day making up the packs and putting the names of the banqueteers on the bags so we could place them on their seats at the banquet on Friday night. On the Friday morning Lynne and I left home, near Barnsley, for the Midland so we could get the carrier bags placed on the seats.

I must explain at this point that arranging seating for 121 people some of whom are in groups is a nightmare. I tried to group people from the same areas together. I would then get an email saying that someone wanted to sit with their friends so I moved them and upset someone else who had been moved away from their friends. It was like playing chess on a huge chess board with 121 chess pieces. I got there in the end.

Back to our journey. I have a newly restored (by me) 1949 TC. I do not like driving it on motorways and keep the revs to a maximum of 4000 RPM. If I want to drive fast I have a 220 bhp Caterham which weighs 500 kgs, 0-60 in 3.6 seconds is fast enough for me! However, we were only 6 miles the wrong side of Blackburn at 9 O’clock so I decided to go on the M65, M61. M6 to Preston and then up the A6 to Lancaster/Morecambe. The car performed perfectly, we toodled along at 60 MPH, moved on to the hard shoulder twice to let two HGV’s past and got int Lancaster for 10 O’clock. We had to take a small diversion to droip a pack off at a B&B one participant was using which was on the route just outside Lancaster. The satnav (yes I have one in the TC, but it’s discreetly placed on the transmission tunnel between the seats, not on the dashboard) took us to the road we wanted and told us to turn right. I said “that’s wrong, it should be left “Why do you use a satnav and then argue with it” was the frosty response from my co-driver. So we turned right went 3 miles down the road, turned round past where we had started and found the B&B half a mile to the left… isn’t it good when you can walk around with a smug grin. We then set off to the Midland. I’ve now been to Lancaster/Morecambe enough time to know some of the roads. We came into Lancaster on the A6 and I said we should turn left at the Skirton Bridge.. Oh, no, the sign says straight on for Morecambe. I protested but did as I was told. I had planned to fill up at the Sainsbury’s on the road between the Skirton Bridge and the sea front but now didn’t know If we would go past it so we stopped at the next garage and filled up at 1.280 a litre. The distance from the Skirton Bridge to the large junction near the Lancaster College is about three minutes, if that. The local directions took us there via new dual carriageways and it took about ten minutes! We then were back on track and went past Sainsbury’s which had fuel at £1.210. I’m still crying!

We arrived and asked for their place name cards so we could set them up and put the carrier bags at the correct seats. I had been wearing a very bright yellow sun hat, you know the type, with a full brim all the way around. It dawned on me that if I kept it on and informed reception that anyone who asked for me could be told to “look for the idiot in the yellow hat”. Of course they were reluctant to say this (the idiot part, not the yellow hat but I convinced them it was OK). We finished setting up by 2 O’clock, had some lunch (and a pint) after which Lynne went to the room for a sleep. I had found some old friends from the days we ran the gites in France and we sat in the bar catching up on old times.

The banquet went really well, the food was excellent as where the serving staff. I had looked to get an after dinner speaker. Did you know that Michael McIntyre will do an after dinner speech for your function, it only costs £50,000! I decided I’d do one and tell some of my funny anecdotes. Lynne complained “you can’t bore them with all those old stories”. My protestations that they had never heard them before fell on deaf ears so I got the local Air Ambulance people to do a presentation on the work they do and we passed the bucket round after. It seemed to go down well.

I took pictures as the cars left with the hotel as a background. I must say a huge thank you to RobW and tonybassplayer from the forum, aha Rob’s partner Lesley took pictures of everyone as they passed Scrips Garage in Aidensfield (Goathland) and Tony Keogh took picture in the Dales. Thank you fro not only me but everyone else on the trip.

I must finish with my emails. I believe in Churchill’s doctrine, “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to tell you, tell you, then tell you what I told you” I sent out emails to all the participants on a regular basis keeping them informed as the trips plans evolved. I’m now known as “Email Norman” and the collective noun for emails is a “Norman of Emails”

This is for the MG Car Club.

It just grew like Topsy – The story behind the 2019 Coast-to-Coast

Until July last year we lived on a non-working farm in the Pays de Loire region of France. With 5 cars (other than the 2 daily’s), an ancient tractor, 10 acres of grass to keep cut, 2 gites to maintain and let to the MG community, I never had much spare time. Being old and grumpy but still not able to sit down and do nothing I needed to find something to occupy myself over the winter now we had moved back to suburbia in a small(ish) house with no garden (it’s paved).

Twenty odd year ago I went on a Coast-to-Coast organised by a fellow member of the Lotus 7 Club (I also have a Caterham).  We departed from the then semi-derelict Midland Hotel in Morecambe. As an aside I wondered why a semi derelict building had a freshly painted white façade. Enquiries revealed a TV company had painted it white to use in a a Poirot episode!

I know the Dales and North York Moors reasonably well, nowhere better for blatting around in a 7! I sent out info emails to the club area secretaries expected about 30 applicants… Just shows how wrong one can be.

We ended up with 98 cars and 191 people!

I organised the route, a banquet at the Midland on the Friday night for 121 MG people, 2 café stops and lunch at a pub. Then, at Scarborough I had to organise parking (there is not much parking spaces in Scarborough) and another evening meal at the Mount Hotel, this time for 88.

We did four trial runs, having bought the OS Explorer maps and several days studying them I found roads that are hardly used but have breath-taking scenery.

The banquet on the Friday night went really well with a presentation from the local Air Ambulance folk (followed by a collection). The morning start had no hitches, the cars were released over a two-hour period from 8am to 10am. This was so everyone didn’t arrive at the tea and lunch stops together. I positioned myself in the centre of the road outside and took pictures of the cars leaving with the iconic Midland Hotel front, with the Eric Gill sea horses, as a background. We had a volunteer on a road just after the morning tea stop who photographed everyone who went past with the Dales as a background. We kept the afternoon tea stop a secret until the route books were handed out, it was at Goathland, also known as Aidensfield in TV’s Heartbeat. Lesley & Rob volunteered to leave early and be in position in front of the Goathland Hotel, the Aidensfield Arms, and picture everyone as the went past Scripps garage, now a tourist gift shop.

For a first attempt at a classic car trip and many sleepless nights, I must say it went very well. On the days following the trip I was inundated with emails, cards and even gifts of wine, chocolates and a tin of sweets with a TC/Spitfire picture on the lid. This email is typical of those I received.

Dear Lynne & Norman

What a fantastic two days we’ve had. Huge thanks to you both for a wonderfully organised & hugely successful adventure. We’ve never done a trip like this & from accounts of others we’ve started with the very best.

You thought of every detail: the course notes were easy to follow, the Midland & the Banquet superb, every stop well organised & welcoming. We saw some wonderful cars & enjoyed chatting to their owners - so many great, friendly, cheery people. The route took us on so many amazing, hidden roads through beautiful countryside & villages.

Thank you again & we look forward to more details about the next plan

Ben & Ali Fuller

I was also overwhelmed with requests to organise another for next year so I have a two day event which takes in the Peak District on the Saturday and the Lake District on Sunday. It’s called Peaks to Lakes (there’s a surprise!). Anyone wanting details email me at OK, commercial break over.

I have a habit of practicing the Churchill mantra of “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to tell you, tell you, and then tell you what I told you”. I kept all participants up to date with emails as the trip evolved. I’m now know as “Email Norman” and the collective noun for emails is “A Norman of Emails”

Hope to see you on the Peaks to Lakes next September.

And, finally, this is for teh MG Octagan Car Club.

The story of the MG Coast-to-Coast run 2018

From 2005 until July 2017 we lived in France. We had a 10 acre non-working farm, a huge workshop where I maintained my 5 cars, full sized tractor and various petrol driven strimmer’s, hedge trimmers and chain saws. It took 3 days to cut the grass about every two weeks. I never had time for anything. We moved back to a suburban house with a tiny garden. I now only had two cars to look after (plus our everyday cars). What was I going to do.

I came up with the idea of organising a Coast-to-Coast run from Morecambe to Scarborough. I thought I’d be lucky if I got 20 to maybe 30 cars.

Reality is we had 98 cars, a banquet on the Friday night for 121 people, a meal at Scarborough for 88 coasters, I organised tea/coffee stops and lunch for nearly 200 people. It’s been very time consuming but has kept me busy which is what I wanted.

I chose the starting point as the Midland Hotel on Morecambe Bay. This iconic art deco hotel largely designed by Eric Gill (look him up, you may be surprised) was built for the Midland Railway, the station is opposite the hotel. During the war it was used as a hospital and, believe it or not, two of the Gill friezes went missing… how do you pinch a huge wall frieze? After the war it slowly deteriorated  and was in a state of semi dereliction when English Lakes group bought it and spent a reputed fifty million pounds refurbishing it. As people joined the run I thought we could have a dinner on the Friday night. I asked the Midland and they said the minimum was fifty people and they would need a £500 deposit. I put it to those registered and got 46 yeses so booked it and paid the deposit. I then asked everyone for £6 a head deposit to recover my £500. In the end we ended up with 121 folk banqueting on the Friday night. Organising menu choices has been fun, to say the least.

Next problem was to map out a route. I know the Yorkshire Dales and North York Moors reasonably well. I purchased half dozen OS maps of the area between Morecambe and Scarborough and drew up a route. We did the first trial run on November 4th. It’s our wedding anniversary on the 3rd so we stayed at the Midland for that and did the run to Scarborough next day. I had had a real problem finding two hotels in Scarborough. I wanted an expensive one and a cheap one, problem was the Scarborough hotels wouldn’t take a single night booking, it was two nights or nothing. However, we eventually got the Mount Hotel a large Victorian Hotel which you expect to meet Miss Marple walking down the corridor, I love it. In all we did 4 trail runs and have found some fantastic roads with amazing scenery. I hope everyone felt the same. On one trip my son drove me in his Tesla. We picked the weekend when it snowed hard right across the country. He has winter tyres on the car and it performed faultlessly, Only problem we had was finding a charging station in the middle of nowhere. We were lunching at a pub near Catterick racecourse and Scotch corner is nearby so we took a diversion to get the car charged.

It was difficult finding a café who could cater for 200 people, I’d already decided we needed a staggered start so as to avoid everyone arriving for tea/coffee/lunch at the same time. It was still difficult until I saw a huge pub en-route and went in and asked if they could lay on morning tea for 200 people over a 2 hour period. No problem said Liam. Heather and Liam at the Marton Arms in Far Westhouse have been very good. Next, we found the Farmers Arms near Catterick Racecourse and Maria has laid on a carvery for us. I decided I needed a financial commitment from the participants, but I didn’t need any money as the hotels, pubs and tea rooms have given me sponsorship which has paid the cost for the paper and binders etc. So, I came up with the idea of everyone pays £10 and gets a voucher towards their lunch at the Farmers Arms.

I kept the afternoon tea stop a secret until the Friday night. I arranged for the Goathland Tea Rooms to look after us…. Goathland is TV’s Heartbeat’s Aidensfield and we have a couple, Rob & Lesley who left early to be in position to get a photograph of all the cars as they pass Scripps Garage. I’m taking pictures of everyone as they leave the Midland and then I get an offer fro, a very gifted amateur photographer in the Owners Club to take pictures en-route. Tony will be on the road from Far Westhouse to Dent. Look at it on Google maps, it’s a great scenic road.

So, how did it go…. After a scorching hot summer, the weather broke down at the beginning of August and on the Monday before the run it was predicted we would have heavy rain all day. Luckily for us, by the Thursday evening this had diminished to light showers for the first couple of hours of the route. I was happy after fearing the worst.

I arranged with Moss Bradford for the gift of 100 carrier bags to put all the stuff in for each car. It was an A5 route book, the event plaque with two cable ties and some last-minute directions and corrections. I picked the carrier bags up in the Tuesday before the run then went to the Midland and made up 110 packs (I always over prepare, just in case). The Saturday, Lynne and I left Royston (the South Yorkshire one) at 06:30 and made our way too Morecambe in my 1949 TC.We were still only 6 miles short of Blackburn at 9! I had to do a small dversion at Lancaster to drop of a route pack at a B&B one of the participants was using. OK, time to bite the bullet, it was motorway time for us and the MG. We joined the M65 then the M61 and finally the M6 and turned off at Preston and went the last lap up the A6. The car performed perfectly keeping to 60 mph all the way to Preston. We got the table cards on the tables then place the goodie bag on each drivers seat. This left only 35 to hand out on the Saturday morning. Lynne did a great job doing that and dealing with all the questions whilst I sat in the road taking pictures. The cars had a staggered departure, between 8 and 10 so they didn’t all arrive at the cafes and pub at the same time. I sent the moderns off first, the mid 60’s to 90 cars next and lastly the old crocks… with their T types. We left last and the car was faultless for all 175 miles. It did struggle up some of the hills but then so do I and I’m only 3 years older!

The event went off extremely well, I was inundated with emails, cards and even gifts of wine, chocolates and a tin of sweets with the TC/Spitfire picture on the lid. I was also implored to do it all again next year so I’ve organised a two day event taking in the Peak District on Saturday 7th September and the Lakes on the 8th. Details from me at OK commercial break over, this is a typical email I received:

 Dear Lynne & Norman

What a fantastic two days we’ve had. Huge thanks to you both for a wonderfully organised & hugely successful adventure. We’ve never done a trip like this & from accounts of others we’ve started with the very best.

You thought of every detail: the course notes were easy to follow, the Midland & the Banquet superb, every stop well organised & welcoming. We saw some wonderful cars & enjoyed chatting to their owners - so many great, friendly, cheery people. The route took us on so many amazing, hidden roads through beautiful countryside & villages.

Thank you again & we look forward to more details about the next plan

Ben & Ali Fuller

There were 9 T types and a ZB amongst the 98 cars.

Finally, I have a habit of practicing the Churchill mantra of “I’m going to tell you what I’m going to tell you, tell you, and then tell you what I told you”. I kept all participants up to date with emails as the trip evolved. I’m now know as “Email Norman” and the collective noun for emails is “A Norman of Emails”

Hope to see you on the Peaks to Lakes next September.



I've been so busy I haven't had time to keep the blog updated. It's now the 8th September and if I can get up really early in the morning I'll bring it up to date.





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