A Day Out for the Boys- Old Warden and other things, Part 1

This week’s guest post is from my cousin Sean Mendis.

The story will unfold in three parts- here is the first part.

We had planned this trip for a while now with little success due to a variety of reasons; lack of time, bad weather, a nasty outbreak of swine flu and matrimonial quibbles.  Well, quibbles is a euphemism really, just like saying the Holocaust was due to a minor gas leak.

July the 5th was a beautiful Sunday and everything coalesced to make it happen.  Michael arrived at 11am in his beautiful ’67 Karman Ghia, resplendent in its recent bare metal re-spray in pearl white.

I had gone to Halfords to buy a quart of oil and also to check out a young Ishmaeli girl at the sales counter who was particularly un-phased by the sledge-hammer wit and charm that I was busily doling out.  Still, it saved me from a night out, five pints of Stella and a dollop of Chlamydia!

After packing a small picnic we left Wembley at 12:30pm.  We dusted the covers off the ageing but eager BMW 730, and despite the inconsequential oil leak, headed up the A1 in the direction of  Biggleswade and Old Warden.  I had remembered to pack a can or two of amber nectar and a very nice bottle of fermented grape juice. Nothing goes down better than a day out in the sun with pickled senses and raddled flesh I thought, as I imagined stretching out on the grass with the eager anticipation of an early liquid lunch and the sound of supercharged Merlins overhead.

Soon we were out in the open country and things started to fly by as we let loose the Bavarian beast  and beat up the A1. We weren’t going to let the price of petrol and a maniacal control freak spoil a good weekend.  I was already buoyed up by the news that our ancient Triumph 5T motorcycle had passed its MOT. The old boy who was overseeing this (over seventy now and still going strong) was a delightful chap called Bill Cosby who had been in the motorcycle trade ever since its inception, or so it seemed. One of the nice things to look forward to during a visit to his ‘Alladin’s cave’ was a freebie coffee, whilst he ragaled us with stories of building race bikes, founding the London Motorcycle museum, and general deeds of derring-do.  It’s a shame he was long on the stories and short on the maintenance.  However, it was turning out to be a good weekend for the boys. Things were starting to happen at last.

We arrived at Old Warden aerodrome at 1PM, an hour before the air-show was due to begin. It was already a hive of activity. I expected the car park to be full of crusty old codgers in their equally crusty old classic cars.  There seemed to be a lack of it this time.  Just a smattering of Bentleys, the odd Jag E-Type and an immaculate Vincent Black Shadow – restored to within an inch of its life.  It was truly in concourse condition. Maybe the credit crunch had taken its toll and the old Bristol or Healy had been moth balled for less parsimonious times.

Stay tuned next week for part two…

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