Transports of delight


LAST weekend I went to an agricultural show in Great Harwood not far from us. As often at these events there was a display of classic cars, but what interested me this time was the number of ‘modern’ classics, by which I mean cars familiar from my younger days which look perfectly normal to me, not like the veterans from before my time. I didn’t realise that such cars, some of which were not highly regarded in their day, were collected, but it is great to see them being so lovingly looked after.

Here is a Triumph Vitesse. I believe it is from 1962.

A pair of Austin-Healey 3000s also from around 1962. The one on the right is in the original colours.

This is a 1964 Vauxhall Victor FB.

This is a Wolseley 4/44, manufactured from 1953 to 1956. According to Wikipedia it had a top speed of 73 mph (117 km/h) and did 0-60 mph in an exhilarating 29.9 seconds. Fuel consumption was 27.6 miles to the gallon.

This is a 1965 Wolseley 16/60. It was recently sold on eBay and you can see the listing here with lots of details. 

This is one of the first examples of the Rolls-Royce Corniche, which was launched in 1971. Here’s an interesting article about the model.

This is a Reliant Scimitar, produced by the makers of the Reliant Robin three-wheeler. Both had fibreglass bodies. This is a GTE, probably from 1974. In 1970 Princess Anne (now the Princess Royal) was given an Air Force blue GTE SE5 by her parents for her 20th birthday.

This is a 1979 Ford Escort RS2000 and I am guessing it is a Mk II.

A Maestro. By the time I got to the cars I had spent so much time with the sheep that I was running a bit late so I didn’t get as much information as I should have. The Austin Maestro was made from 1982 to 1987, and from 1988 to 1994 it was made by Rover.

And joy of joys, a Corvette Stingray. I believe this is a 1975 coupé. I saw The Who perform at the University of Kent on May 8, 1970 (three months after they recorded the album Live at Leeds) and Roger Daltrey arrived in a Stingray which he parked outside the building while they played, if memory serves leaving the top down. Super cool.

Finally here is an Ariel motorbike, built in 1949 in Bournbrook, Birmingham. I think it is a Red Hunter 500cc.

The owner showed me an innovative gadget – a light which pulls out from the dashboard (apologies if that is not the right term) so that if you broke down at night you could see what you were doing.

The Ariel company was sold in 1951 to another Birmingham manufacturer, BSA (Birmingham Small Arms) but the marque continued until 1967.


Sheep of the Week

AT THE Great Harwood show my eye was caught by some lovely brown sheep called Coloured Ryelands. These are so called to distinguish them from Ryelands, which are white. Together they are one of the oldest British breeds, going back seven centuries to when the monks of Leominster in Herefordshire grazed them on the rye pastures, hence the name. They are naturally hornless and were used in developing other hornless breeds. I was told that the wool is popular with hand spinners.

It is not easy taking pictures of sheep at shows as the bars of the pens get in the way, but I took a short video of one apparently having a shouting match with another. Click here.

Roaming around YouTube I found this delightful video of two lambs called Wally and Gizmo. According to the farm’s website Gizmo was their first lamb and went on to win first prize at his first show (he is seen with his rosette at the end of the film), by which time he was officially known as Smeafield Xowie. That was in 2017 and I emailed the farm to ask if he is still around, but I have had no reply. Their website does not seem to have been updated for a couple of years so perhaps they have closed.

Anyway do watch this little film (there is no sound, which is better than the ghastly music that afflicts so many videos). Who would have thought there was so much fun to be had from a bale of hay?

I also took this video of a sheep-shearing demonstration by a New Zealander using hand shears. (I didn’t think to start filming until after a minute or so.) He says it is kinder to the sheep because the mechanical equipment shaves right to the skin, which means the animals can be very cold at night until the wool grows again, and says hand-shearing can be as quick as using electric clippers. It is very skilled work and it looks terribly tough on the back.

Last for this section, look at the wonderful horns on this Jacob ram. He is a magnificent animal and knows it. I asked one or two farmers if they treat their show sheep like all the rest of their flock and they said they spoil them rotten.  


I TOOK these pictures last week. The first is common honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum), and the second is dog rose (Rosa canina), both native to Britain.It is hard to imagine anything more beautiful.


It’s a bit late but I found this brilliant Jubilee decoration made from silage bales only after the event.


FINALLY, don’t forget that reader Kathy Nel (‘linuslimmy’) is collating anecdotal evidence about bird and insect numbers, either increases or decreases (or even static). Send your comments and observations to this address:

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