July has arrived with all it’s heat and bluster. But that didn’t stop us from having a wonderful picnic at the home of Ed and Lanie Johannemann near Mt. Vernon. The food was great and the company was wonderful. I also got a chance to check out the new interior Ed had recently installed in his MGB. It was his first time installing an interior, but it sure looked like it was done by a pro! And wow, wait until you see the mahogany door toppers, dash and center console inserts he made himself!
Last month we ventured out into the hinterlands of Culpeper for what is becoming an annual glimpse into MG’s racing history and current on-track escapades. Kevin Richards went over some of the modifications on Dave Nichollas’ MGA racecar (previously owned and raced by club member Bob Schoeplein). Kevin also went over some of the modifications, old and new on an MGA racecar he recently acquired. This one had been sitting awhile and requires some attention before returning to the track. We also got a glimpse of Mike Eaton’s significant collection of MGs that raced at Sebring. After the techy stuff was done most of us made our way to Far Gohn Brewery for lunch and some refreshments. Please see the photographs from this event elsewhere in this issue.
In last month’s issue of the Spark, I began telling you about Cheryl’s and my London adventures in May. I’d like to continue our travelogue now.
I’ll begin by mentioning that if you’re the least bit interested in history, you have to visit Winston Churchill’s war rooms beneath the streets of Westminster. Cheryl and I were fascinated. Many of the spaces are exactly as they were during the war, not recreated, but just as they were. The desks, the various colored phones, some personal items and the maps on the walls left just as they were when the lights were turned off in 1945, when the last person exited the bunker. Visit www.iwm.org.uk/visits/churchill-war-rooms for more information
I also mentioned that we took the train up to Bletchley in order to visit Bletchley Park, a short walk from the train station. If you know your WWII history (or watched the movie The Imitation Game, or Enigma, a pretty good movie produced by Mick Jagger (look for him in a cameo in the movie!)) you’ll recognize Bletchley Park as the home of the codebreakers. This estate was purchased by the UK government 1938 and ‘Captain Ridley’s Shooting Party’ took a relaxed weekend to determine if the buildings and grounds would work as a wartime location for intelligence activity by the Government Code and Cypher School. They even brought a chef from the Savoy with them!
The setting is beautiful and the stories of the lives, duties and personal sacrifices of the people, mostly women that worked there during the war are fascinating. Cheryl and I took a guided tour around the grounds first. The tour doesn’t take you inside the main buildings or “huts” but gives you an overall understanding of all the various activities and in which buildings they took place. We were then on our own to explore the grounds and interiors. I encourage you to visit in person, but you can read more about the intriguing history of Bletchley Park at www.bletchleypark.org.uk.
Our travelogue will continue next month. I’m sure you can hardly wait!