One Old Fart and a Fat Guy.

It’s raining nicely for the first time all summer, my favorite weather. There was a car show this morning in Ladysmith which Pete and I attended. Here is our report:

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One Old Fart and a Fat Guy

Those of you who have been following the adventures of “Two Old Farts and a Fat Guy” might be a bit surprised to see from the headline on this story, that it’s now “One Old Fart and a Fat Guy”. It is with some consternation that I’m compelled to announce the disappearance of one of the Old Farts. Before you begin offering condolences and asking where to send flowers, be advised that Brian isn’t peering at us from the other side of the veil just yet. He is more or less lost to us however in that now in his golden years, he has found a lady friend with whom he prefers to spend most of his time.

He certainly prefers spending time with her to spending time with us. We hardly see him anymore. Of course we are happy for him, it’s not everyone who discovers such personal happiness again at his time of life, and yet it does leave us one Old Fart short.

Pete and I are  prepared to soldier on.

2015-07-12 09.08.08It was decided the day before that we were to meet at 08:30 in the gravel parking lot of Pier66 and from there to take ourselves off to breakfast. All adventures require a decent morning meal, and we had decided on the Crepevine in Duncan. 2015-07-12 09.10.30

Sunday Brunch… and reservations too! We went all-out. Owner / Chef Daniel used to have a crepe stand here in Cowichan Bay, but it proved so popular that he outstripped the tiny premises. Now he operates in the downtown area, does a brisk trade not just in crepes, but also in waffles, Belgian fries, halibut and chips and can make an omelet to die for. Just when you think he’s run out of ideas, he announces a special event, like a set dinner or in this case, Sunday morning brunch.

(Does this sound like an ad for the Crepevine? Of course it is. Daniel is one of the chefs in town I really like and I’ll happily promote his efforts here. I pay for my dining just like everybody else though, and he only takes cash.)

The community of Ladysmith which hosted an English Car show today, is just north of Cowichan Bay and about an equal distance south of Nanaimo, the island’s largest urban area. It takes about half an hour to roll the few miles up island.

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Convenient parking and a very nice view.

Ladysmith was once a resource based town. Founded in 1898 by hard-nosed coal baron James Dunsmuir, coal from nearby mining operations was loaded onto ships for transport to markets up and down the west coast. Much of the park like waterfront is built on the former industrial site. There was a large locomotive shop along the E&N line which runs along the waterfront, and into the 1970s it still held all the tools required for the service, maintenance and rebuilding of the steam locomotives that did a lot of the work. Today it’s an arts centre and at least one of the locomotives is on static display outside.

We thought parking would be a problem. It wasn’t for by pure luck a parking spot presented itself just off the green grassy park. It could not have been more conveniently situated. Sometimes it pays to press on into the depths, everyone else had begun parking along the road.

2015-07-12 11.32.30The turnout for the show was much greater than either Pete or I had expected. English cars of all sorts, from 1960’s Mini Coopers to 1990s Jaguars to Vintage Bentleys and Rolls Royces filled the display area almost completely. Even so, more cars kept arriving as we toured and admired the vehicles, the effect being that once you’d gone around and “seen everything” you could go around a second time to see everything again, for about a quarter of the vehicles had only just arrived.

Everyone was in a happy mood. Those who had brought their cars were pleased to answer all manner of uninformed questions. I’m hardly an expert on English made cars and yet at no time did I see a rolling of the eyes, hear a sigh or suggestion that my basic inquiries annoyed anyone. The variety of vehicles was quite surprising.

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1927 Bentley Racer

Just towards the end, after the second go-round and when our feet had begun to complain only a little, a vehicle drove up which in and of itself made the trip to the show worth while. It was a 1927 Bentley racer. The same variety as in the movie The Fast Lady.

Driven by her owner up from Sidney that morning, she was in gloriously unrestored trim. In top shape for her age mind you and meticulously maintained, she has all the scratches, paint chips dents and dings earned over decades of touring and racing. There was a smear of oil on the nickle plated wind screen surround. The engine was in it’s original state, unpolished and very smartly tuned. She sounded “brilliant” as the Brits would say.

The car had been bought just before the war by the current owner’s grandfather, who raced it extensively in England both before and after the war. The current owner got the car from his father, and raced it some more, at Silverstone and on the Continent. She tops out at just under 100 miles an hour, has a 4 speed unsynchronised gearbox, rod actuated drum brakes and manual spark advance control. It’s a car that takes skill to drive and a great deal of skill to drive as a racer.

Well pleased, we ambled back to our car. On the way home it began to rain. Our luck had held out just long enough.

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  1. Geoff Hill
    July 12th, 2015 at 21:05 | #1

    Thanks Eric…..wish I had remembered about that one …went 2 years ago’s a great show …..and a shout out to Daniel too …boffo!

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