The BRITISH MOTORING FESTIVAL. Also known as the B.M.F. is now in its 4th year and anyone who owns a British car surely is aware of this festival. I will go as far as to say many who don't own one of these great cars knows of this festival as well. I am sure they ask question about why they see so many British cars lined up together going down the road. One might say that they went for a drive and six other cars came along for support, or they could say we are going to the Best British Car Festival in Eastern Canada. Most communities have festivals that last all week. Here at the British Motoring Festival in Windsor, the organizers cram in a weeks worth of a festivities in less then three days. The following story will tell you of receptions, car shows, historic walks, fashion shows, high tea, banquets, breakfast, luncheons, Comedy play, scenic driving tours and so much more, even a hockey museum visit. This festival in itself is worth the drive here but we at the BCCCB make a little vacation out of the B.M.F. We enjoy as much as we can here and we add an extra day to take in the sights of this beautiful area of Nova Scotia. Sit down, buckle up and read on.
Our numbers are down this year for the long drive to Windsor but for those of us who packed a small bag of clothes and a big bag of tools, we set off for a great, unforgettable adventure. The Sydney area members headed off towards the #4 highway and those on the Northside of the Harbor, well we started our day off with a very nice breakfast at the the Bras D'or View Restaurant. We laughed and filled our bellies before we headed down the Trans Canada Highway toward Windsor but first, to stop for Peter and Sandy. Arriving at a gas station just outside of Baddeck, there was Peter and Sandy with the "Sexy Jag" waiting in the rain. A quick snap shot and away we went.
It's going to be a long drive and here I am travelling alone. Paula's seat now has the BCCCB Events Tent sitting in it, as she has a Family wedding this weekend to attend. I sent my good wishes and said I was sorry, "Cough cough", and that I had a cold and couldn't make it. I jumped in my B and Buzzed off. Now to entertain myself for a number of hours. You can see the Tent in Paula's seat as I reach my arm out the window, in the rain, to take a self portrait, and there's my shoeless feet with my big toe on the accelerator. Oh what I wouldn't do for cruise control.
Arriving at the Big Irving in Aulds Cove, before the Sydney crew, we gassed up, bought a few treats and waited about 15 minutes for the others to arrive. I love Mary's style. Her car but she lets Mike drive. She even lets Mike put the gas in and pay for it as well. Again.. I love this ladies style. The Sydney crew arrived, fuelled up and we're ready to go once more.
Lunch time just outside of Truro. I for one, when on the road, I am not a lover of running below half a tank of fuel. Here at Millbrook, all one could ask for is available. Above you have Peter and Sandy, Sheila Don and Elizabeth as well as Mary and Mike. We fuelled up and time for some lunch. A majority of us chose good ole Tim Hortons. Something light........
While others chose A & W. I wonder if the sign had anything to do with it. A date for under $9. the money you save can go towards an extra litre of oil. The Rawdon Hills is the route we chose to take to Windsor. A very nice drive for these little cars. No high speeds and one has to love the twists and turns. Oh! and the smells. Memorable for sure. I don't miss a thing when travelling, my head is on a swivel. I am sure I seen an MGB LE beside someone's shop and a little further up the road a white triumph TR 7. I received an email from Haylett that he forwarded to me from the owner of the nice TR7. "Just saw a convoy of lbcs go by my place on Hwy 14 heading toward Windsor. A white E-type coupe, a gaggle of MG Bs and an A in assorted bright colours. In virtually everyone of them, I saw a head turn to inspect my white TR7 which sits facing the road with a For Sale sign. Perhaps they'll stop in on the way back. And now I must go wash my TR6 for the big show". There you go! Another LBC owner with more then one car in the stable, a spare.
Yay! finally.... The Super 8 in Windsor. Don't laugh at the flag, there is a method to my madness. I propped open the door of my room and taped the flag over the doorway. This means "come on in" no knocking just come in. If I wasn't accepting visitors the door would be closed. This way I didn't have to get up every time the someone knocked. On the other side of the flagged draped doorway, festivities ensued. A cool beverage and snacks, along with a lot of laughter was available after that long drive. Put your feet up and relax folks. Have a drink, Lee's Taxi will do the driving for this evening.
It was agreed that the Spitfire was the place to be for supper. Where else would you go if you own a British Car. The British car parts display is nice and the food and service here, as well as the atmosphere, is truly hard to beat. One of our servers, Sara Jean, even remembered Peter from last year, she called him by name. Truthfully.... who could forget Peter. Your one of a kind. I usually always put a little plug in our stories about places we stop but the Spitfire Arms deserves much more. I had the calamari and a steak, very tastie. I seen many other dishes presented to our members and I am sure that they loved their choice as much as I loved mine. Wash it all down with a cold beverage and lets call Lee's Taxi once more.... Bill please! I didn't receive a bill I said to the server. "yours is looked after" she said. Carol looked after my bill for helping to replace the water pump on her beautiful Healey a few days earlier. Thank you so much Carol. Very much appreciated.
We gathered outside the Spitfire Arms waiting on the taxi and if you look beyond our group you can see the patio at the Spitfire is full. If I was new in town and seen a place with a filled up patio, I would eat here. Something brought the people here and it's my guess, it's the food. I was right! One of Windsor's best kept secrets is the Taxi service. I have Lee's Taxi on my contacts in my phone. I called saying we had 14 people and within moments two vans arrived and for a mere pittance of $6.75 each cab, they took us safely to our destination. The drivers got a huge tip for their prompt service.
The door was propped open in the flag draped doorway and the evening festivities began. I hope we weren't to noisy. I did get a funny look from the lady next door with her hair in a bun as I emerged from my flag draped door the next morning. She seen my British Car Club of Cape Breton Tee Shirt, blessed herself and turned away. Just so you know..... between the two of us.... I was the only one smiling.
First thing to do on a road trip each day, car check. God forbid that there should be a breakdown. Mary's great looking B was a little thirsty, we all need to give them a drink from time to time. It's just starting to rain, hope it stops soon, we have a great day planned of sightseeing.
Here at the Super 8, they offer a free continental breakfast. Equate this in the price of your room and trust me, this is a deal. Boiled eggs, toast, bagels, juices, coffee, teas all here for a very pleasurable breakfast. Time to gather and start our day. Good ole Peter and Sandy have a nice day planned for us. lets go.
First stop, Kings Meadow Farm just outside of Windsor. Personally, I have never been on a farm, so this is going to be very interesting. Barry and Nancy Maxner, are our host and hostess here at the farm. A quick explanation of what we are about to see and away we went.
Cows... I have never been this close to them. A very inquisitive lot they are. Once one came over to see us, the rest of the herd came over to greet us. We learn that the more content the cow is the better the yield of milk. These are very content cows. Barry said they are getting more milk out of less cows, do to the philosophy of their contentment. A happy cow is a giving cow. Take from that statement what you will.
A dozen cows at a time get milked twice a day here in this room. just to put a bit of reality into this, cows don't know it's Christmas, of if it's your birthday. A dairy farmer's commitment never wavers, it's a 24 / 7 livelihood. Each cow drinks 45 gallons of water and 150 lbs of food a day. On top of all that there are the baby cows to look after. I think Brian is wondering how cowhide will look on the interior of his great looking MGA.
All the while we were on tour at this beautiful farm, Peter played with the farm's dog. It was cute to see the dog watching his friend Peter leave. A Norman Rockwell moment for sure, The time to move on has come but not before we took a quick look at their garden. As if the farm wasn't busy enough, the Maxner's are very talented gardeners. To add to that! Nancy has her own line of hand creams. "Naturally Nancy's" Check it out www.naturallynancys.com We all received a little gift of a bottle of barrier cream. Thanks Nancy. Thanks Barry and Nancy for your hospitality. A great tour for sure. Mahone Bay is our next stop.
We were in the cars long enough, time for a walk. We parked our cars across from the landmark three churches at the entrance of the town of Mahone Bay. What's this! We are missing two cars. A quick phone call revealed that Carols engine hood kept popping up, a broken spring was to blame. After stopping a few times, Donnie, the sheep herder, watching over the flock, took Carol into Chester to get a new spring. They weren't delayed long, it only seemed to be a few minutes before they caught up.
Once again the luck of the BCCCB continues. As many times before, it rained most of the day, only to stop once we got out of our cars. It was a beautiful day here in Mahone Bay. Time for lunch and a bit of a walking tour.
Place for lunch.... Gazebo Cafe. No deep fried foods here, great food for someone who is health conscious. I had two chicken wraps and a ceasar salad, it was great! That along with a slice of strawberry rhubarb pie made my eating experience very nice. That along with the great people I was with and the enchanting atmosphere made this a great place to be, here in the busy touristic town.
I was lucky enough to share my table with the lovely Carol Miller. Carol had just come back from a Healey Conclave in Quebec. Carol and the Healey are putting the miles on after her car's been tied up being refurbished for two years. Keep an eye out everyone, there is no stopping Carol and Baby Blue now. Next a quick shot of Lee and Sheila as well as Brian and Arlene outside of the Gazebo Cafe.
It was a great day and it's not over yet. returning to Windsor, or first stop was to register for the British Motoring Festival. This is Mary's first show and the smile says she really into this. There is a reception at 7 so it's off to our rooms to freshen up and get some supper. Chinese food sounds good and it's here that we hooked up with Preston and the lovely Betti Ann, and just moments before this, back at the motel we connected with Nina and Haylett. It's safe to say, here in Windsor... the gang is all here.
It's 7 PM time for the B.M.F. festivities to begin. Above you have Peter and Sandy heading to the Grand Hall at King Edgehill's School. I mentioned in other stories that events like this doesn't just fall together, it takes devoted volunteers to make arrangements to get everything to fall into place.. By the look of this well put together reception, the crew of the British Motoring Festival has the right people in the right jobs.
Help yourself to a great assortment of of food and mingle with the elite of the British car hobby. Here I met friends I made over the past number of years and once again the British Car Hobby has brought Dennis Gage from "My Classic Car" to help us celebrate. The last time I seen Dennis was at the British Invasion in Stowe Vermont. Above Dennis and Lee are talking car talk while picking away at some great food.
Above, you see some local Winery's were represented as well. We have Avondale Sky and Gaspereau Vineyards with some very nice wine to tickle your taste buds. I bought wine from Gaspereau Vineyards last time I was here so this time I bought a very favourable bottle from Avondale Sky. Thanks guys for being here. A nice touch.
The rains have passed for the weekend and our day before the B.M.F. is close to coming to an end, time to wash the cars for tomorrow, Peter is first to play with the hose. The super 8 was kind enough to offer up a hose, bucket and soap to ready our cars for the show. Bill MacDonald, Mike MacIsaac and Donnie Peters are standing at the ready.
Back to the room with the flag draped door, where anything can happen. I told them all of my plan for the show, being dressed up as a Disco Dancer, the era of my car. The laugher ensued so I did a dress rehearsal. I am sure the laughter could be heard on the lower floors. With my hair slicked back, sunglasses and my disco outfit I though I might be either taken away in a straight jacket or win the costume award, we'll find out tomorrow.
Before I can put on my disco outfit, I must first tend to my volunteer duties as a member of the M.B.F. parking police. In the first photo you see me directing a car to it's parking place while under the watchful eye of the legend himself, MGB Bill Johnson, the lieutenant. All the while I was directing traffic, Don Lee and Brian were setting up the BCCCB events tent. My mind was on my task but my heart was up at the tent. I hope they can do it with out beating each other to death with a tent post. Then! poof! The tent was up.... proud of you guys
The tent is up and I could hear the roar of Brian's MGA come to life. He had to scat back to the motel to pick up Arlene. My Job..... Move the barrier to allow Brian out. I could still hear the roar of Brian's car when Peter and Sandy arrived. My job.... Say. "See the guy in the orange vest". Yes..... I carried my camera while I was on duty.
Town Crier Lloyd Smith at the bell. With his spiffy new attire Lloyd sounded off the beginning of the 2013 British Motoring Festival opening with the ringing of the bell and the reading of the declaration. Lloyd is the longest running Town Crier in Canada and he plays the part with class and professionalism. I am sure the Town of Windsor is as proud of him as he is as proud of the town of Windsor. Job well done Lloyd. Other dignitaries speaking were Mr. Joseph Seagram, Headmaster of Kings Edgehill School and Mayor Paul Beazley. So with a toast to the queen the open ceremonies are complete, lets have some fun shall we.
Over the past few years I was to busy at the show to take in many of the activities. This year my plan was to take in as much as I could. First, the historic walk. Follow Wanda Woolaver. Not a problem, lead on. Yes that the queen coming along as well for a walk. It was a hot day so the walk was to be a short historic walk to Haliburton House. The walk was nice but boy was to hot and there was a barrier along the way Mary and Moragh are seen here negotiating the obstacle.
The link to Haliburton house is in the previous paragraph. Lots of history here. I can only show a few photo and they do not do the place justice. Construction of the house was completed around 1837 and the place is full of lavish furnishings including a harp. Also, upstairs is the temporary location for The Windsor Hockey Heritage Centre. Just until a permanent residence can be found.
Just look at the grand dinning room. The high ceilings and the large mirror give this place a prestigious stature. This is a first for me to see, the kitchen is in the basement, and just look at the huge cooking area. The sweltering heat must be something for the cooks to endure during hot days such as this. Amazing place to visit.
Back to the B.M.F. Dennis Gage is doing his rounds checking out the cars and picking the cars he is going to profile on his show. His first pick was a car close to where I was standing. I am not sure of the make or model but I can say Dennis and the owner were into a pretty intense conversation about this car.
Back to the BCCCB Events Tent for just a moment before I take a stroll around the grounds and check out the cars. The guys did a great job setting up the tent. Banner and Flags up as well, Good Job. Club cars set up in front... Looks great. Time for a stroll.
The Healeys are front and center this years, celebrating their 60 year anniversary. Also sharing an anniversary is the the Land Rover, it's their 65th. Here in the center area of the car show, organizers had reserved the area for both the Healeys and the Land Rovers. My gosh.... what a nice walk through this area. The Healeys are gorgeous and... well.. we'll get to the land rovers shortly. The little one in the Mini has a long way to go before she gets to celebrate a 60th anniversary of any sort.
Here is a couple of Off road vehicles. The older Land Rover and the newer version, the Ranger Rover. The Land Rover is a great powerful go anywhere vehicle. The short wheel base should make this the optimum off road vehicle and again look rugged on the road. The Ranger Rover is a vehicle one would use to take his partner to the theatre, or an evening out. This SUV screams class. I would love to have one of each nestled in my stable.
Here is another Land Rover that caught my eye. I am guessing the owner loves this truck and uses it for things I am sure it was never meant to be used for. Do you need a truck like this? No. Would you like a truck like this? Oh yeah!
This Photo is of a unique Austin Healey 100 M owned by Garth Hancock. I took about 8 or 9 pictures of this car but most got cut due to web space. This is a absolutely gorgeous car. The slopping windshield captured my attention. It is adjustable thank heavens, I couldn't imagine the highway speeds with the windshield this way. Next the flux capacitor driven Delorean. I drive fast, I admit it but you will never catch me doing 88 miles an hour in this car.
Lets have a look at a few more cars here at the British Motoring Festival. For starters, I have to say that I bought my car 18 years ago. I thought I did a decent job restoring it, until I came to one of these British Car Shows. The eye for details that some of the owners have put me and my car to shame. I since kicked it up and the under hood of my cars look much better. Now, for those new to the British Car Experience, and if they came across a detailed under bonnet such as this absolutely gorgeous Mini, they may run back to close their engine hood as I did years ago. Now for what it's worth, ask yourself. Drive then or show them? I prefer both, so my cars aren't perfect but they show well and I drive the hell out of then. Can't you tell... My hair is blown back and there is always a smile on my face. Neither of my engine bays look this good.
Next a newer Lotus and a very old Austin Sprite. One is loaded with electronics and I am sure one needs an expensive mechanic to repair. The other is a simple fun loving car that, with a repair Manuel, one can fix anything themselves.
A true car that shined brighter then the others today was Anthony Lewis's 1956 Jaguar. Anthony even placed a mirror under the car so people can see how detailed the under body is on this car. An unbelievable car.
Now I do like the MGB GT. These and the Triumph GT 6 with the 6 cylinders gets my heart pumping. As it turns out, this little gem belongs to Kevin Smith, he is the nephew of BCCCB members Peter and Sandy Smith. I had to introduce myself and complimented Kevin on his beautiful car. Kevin gave me a little history lesson on the GT model and maybe one day I will find one. There was close to 150 cars here today and I took Pictures of almost 75% of them. It was hard to cut photos of these cars, all are gorgeous and all worthy of a little exposure in this story but I couldn't fill our web space with so many pictures. So I apologize if people are wondering why their car doesn't have a spot in this story.
Fashion show time! I had just called BCCCB member Barc Cunningham using face time to show him what's going on here at the festival. Barc couldn't make the show this year so I brought the show to him. I no sooner connected with Barc when the call was made for all who were dressed up to come front and center for judging. I passed my iPhone off to Don to show Barc the show and ran up for judging. No Margaret! The yells went out and there she was heading out on important business. I yelled "who will I dance with" She quickly ran back long enough for this priceless photo to be taken. A few boogie moves and she was gone again. The judges then took a half hour to discuss the results and.............
I won!!!!!!! Best dressed 2013. I am sure it was Margaret's running back for the pose that clinched the win, I think it should be a shared win. Thanks Margaret for helping me win. I struck a few more poses for picture and laughs. During all this, I looked over at Don to see how the Face-time conversation was going with Barc. I seen Don and no Phone, Dennis Gage was holding the phone and having a great conversation with Barc... I mean Bert... I mean Barc.
The comedy show... Well it was very well thought out. The theme was a fashion show showing apparel for driving in different British Cars. There was so many verities that it's impossible for me to remember but for the first mentioned car, the driving apparel should be rubber boots because they leak, like most of the others. Cargo pants to carry tools and an ascot to wipe the bug from the windshield because the wipers probably don't work. Next the elbow patches to add sophistication for the next car mentioned
For the spitfire, the apparel Mark has on is very fitting. The crowd was in stitches. Rain drops keep falling on my hear started to play for the next driving apparel and then for the Jag, a pair of British boxers were in order.
Next, Mark is dressed as Bond James Bond and the tools from Q were a well fashioned spanner and adjustable wrench. Next, for the MGB why not a B looking costume.
Next the apparel for a Triumph TR 7. A hanky and a bag to go over your head. Oh My God ... Who thinks these things up? Coveralls and beer for the next car and the wizardry outfit for the now popular Anglia.
The last skit was of this trio breaking into the Gangnam Style dance. There was laughter everywhere. Heavens above, how does one come up with this stuff. This show alone is worth the price of admission . What a day! It's not over yet.
Banquet Time! Once again we took advantage of Lee's Taxi, better safe then sorry. We arrived early to get good seats but others had the same idea. We took a couple of tables at the end. Time for a cool refreshing beverage. Don Bill and Moragh beat me to that as well.
Remember those couple of tables at the end? Well they were first to be served. Look at the smile on Preston's face as the BCCCB surrounded both serving tables. Chicken, Roast Beef and Salmon are your choices. The chicken was to die for and the roast beef was the thickest cuts I have ever seen. I didn't get a look at the salmon but I am sure it was as tasty as everything else set out before us. The food line moved very fast and orderly like a well oiled machine.
Rick Swain was MC this evening as a stand in, Steve Write has an important package being delivered and he wanted to be near his daughter when the package arrived. Rick had big shoes to fill as he had to follow the act from other years of Margret Bond. Rick didn't flinch, he not only filled her shoes but he had the room in stitches. Rick then passed the mic off to Dennis Gage for a few words. Very interesting character for sure. Rick is back at the mic and Ian Cumming is presenting the awards. Long Distance award went to Ken Mason (not shown) Above we have Pat Connelly for Presentation award.
Peoples Choice and participants Choice award went to Anthony Lewis and his great looking 1956 Jaguar XK 140. Perseverance Award Tom Windeyer. Rick Swain is not only a very funny MC he is a very talented artist as well and every year he does a drawing of a car he would like to drive home in. This year he chose Garth Hancock's 1956 Healey 100. Going to be a very nice picture. . Len Drake donated a $100 gift certificate and Dennis Gage pulled out car number 113. The organizers will be in touch with the owner to deliver their prize What a great festival!
A few pictures of the dinning hall at Kings Edgehill School. Off to the left the band is setting up to entertain for the rest of the evening. This is the show that keeps on giving. We didn't stay for the band, way to warm and in a matter of minutes, as soon as Lee's Taxi can get us there, the door will be propped open in the flag draped doorway of room 309 back at the Super 8 Motel.
Time for the long drive home. The continental breakfast is great at the Super 8 but a big breakfast is much better and the Cross Roads Restaurant is the place to be. This is a great place to rendezvous with Brian and Arlene. Here we ate like kings and queens and said our good byes to Preston and Betti Ann. We dropped our tops Turned the key, ground the gears and released the clutch. The British Motoring Festival, for us, is over for another year. There is still a breakfast and a tour as well as a luncheon at Laurie Bells but that will take us into the afternoon, to late for us. So it's homeward bound.
Stopping just outside of Truro, Nina asked if we would like a little stop over at her cottage. Heck yeah! Lead on MacDuff. 40 minutes later we are in cottage country, Little Harbor Pictou County What an amazing spot.
From the balcony I captured Haylett taking pictures with his ipad. He's trying to get it all in, in one shot. A super wide angle might do the job. Next Peter is taking a stroll to the pond's edge.
Many of our members have never been here before and I am sure they enjoyed themselves. Nina goes all out every time she has guests. The treats were out and she had Haley whipping up butter tarts. What a perfect end to a perfect extended weekend. A little check of Carols engine hood spring and away we went. Another 2.5 hours to go.
Destination, Windsor Nova Scotia for what I described last year as "The Greatest Show On Earth" The British Motoring Festival. Hard to beat that title but the organizers did, I just don't know what to call it. Many of us had gone to car shows and sat for hours but not here, not at the B.M.F. there is just to much to see and do. This year surpassed all expectations. The car count was a record this year and I can't imagine what next year will bring. Will the British Car Club of Cape Breton be there? Count on it. I had taken just under 600 pictures and I selected a mere118 to show in this story. So this story is truly a condensed version of what really happened. I always said that it's the greatest people who own a British car. A statement that is proven true once more here in Windsor Nova Scotia. Thanks so much to all who had their hand into making this the weekend it was.
You know how it goes. If you weren't there you missed it. Many didn't but you did. Come along next time. You won't be disappointed. The organizers of the British Motoring Festival Windsor Nova Scotia will never let that happen.
Photo contribution... Peter Smith