The Leisure Seeker

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Think Spring is giving way to Summer this weekend. Either way, I decided the climatic conditions were not right for me to run the London Marathon.

Am also preparing for a couple of trips at the moment so have been at home. One evening Faye and I decided to pop out to the cinema and see “The Leisure Seeker” starring Helen Mirren and Donald Sutherland.

An ageing couple decide to jump into their very old and much loved Winnebago and travel down the Florida Quays and get to Ernest Hemingway’s house.

We loved it but it is not a film for the faint hearted and it is far from an easy watching light entertainment night out.

YouTube Link is HERE.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

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A bit of Spring Touring.

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Very nice to be out and about in the motorhome.

Stayed at two CAMC sites – the Centenary Site in the New Forest and the Littlehampton Site and took in King Henry VIII’s castle on the seafront in Portsmouth and visited two Commonwealth War Graves Commission cemeteries also in Portsmouth.

Good to be out on the road.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

A weekend at Moreton-in-Marsh.

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One of my favourites on the Caravan and Motorhome Club network. Firstly because it is so attractively laid out, secondly because continuous investment in the site keeps it right, thirdly because a brief walk takes you into town and everything you need is there and fourthly because the wardens are outstanding.

On a Friday night a mobile pizza outfit arrives with a real flame oven (try the Vesuvius) and on Saturday a mobile fish and chip van is on site. So, for me, so nice to be let off catering duties…..

Bit chilly (understatement!) this weekend but none the worse for that.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Rolls-Royces come to Beaulieu.

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Two of the most exclusive Rolls-Royces of modern times have joined new display The Luxury of Motoring at the National Motor Museum, Beaulieu with a Wraith built in tribute to Beatles record producer Sir George Martin and a brand new Dawn Black Badge.

The 2017 Rolls-Royce Wraith is a one-off tribute to the legendary Sir George Martin, known as ‘the fifth Beatle’. Commissioned by Sir George’s son, songwriter and producer Giles Martin, the beautifully hand-crafted Wraith is packed with details that pay homage to this giant of the music world.

The titles of Sir George’s 30 number-one hit singles are embroidered into the upholstery between the rear seats, with his signature stitched on each head-rest. Other details include Sir George’s name engraved into the base of the Spirit of Ectsasy mascot. Joining the display courtesy of Rodger Dudding classic vehicle collection at Studio 434, this unique Rolls-Royce is one of nine Wraiths ‘Inspired by British Music’, built to celebrate some of Britain’s most remarkable musical artists, including The Who frontman Roger Daltrey CBE, Sir Ray Davies of The Kinks, Dame Shirley Bassey and Status Quo.

Fresh from the Rolls-Royce factory is the 2018 Rolls-Royce Dawn Black Badge. The bespoke and contemporary Black Badge range has attracted a new generation to the Rolls-Royce marque. Already a huge hit with Beaulieu visitors, the glamorous open-top on display has a deeply intense and hand-polished black paintwork, with threads of aircraft grade aluminium woven and bonded in carbon fibre, a high-gloss vamp Spirit of Ecstasy with black chrome finish and bold mandarin orange interior highlights.

Though what really makes the car special is beneath its skin. Tighter and more responsive thanks to revisions to its steering, suspension and eight-speed gearbox, the Dawn Black Badge’s 6.6-litre twin-turbocharged V12 engine is even more powerful than that of the original Dawn, producing 593bhp. An entirely new exhaust system announces the car’s arrival with a menacing bass baritone.

Beaulieu has an unparalleled collection of Rolls-Royces by virtue of the Montagu family connection with its founders. Motoring pioneer John, 2nd Baron Montagu opened the first Rolls-Royce factory and his personal secretary and secret mistress Eleanor Thornton was a muse for Charles Sykes, who designed the Rolls-Royce Spirit of Ecstasy mascot.

A third car has also joined The Luxury of Motoring display. Just back from Retromobile in Paris is the 1913 Argyll 15/30hp. Although over a century older than the Rolls-Royces, it was just as cutting-edge in its heyday. An exceptionally well-engineered machine, the Scottish-built Argyll was notable for sophisticated features such as brakes on all four wheels and its 4084cc sleeve-valve engine. Inside, its sumptuous interior ensured that rear seat passengers rode in comfort as they were chauffeured to their destination.

This privately-owned car was originally a wedding gift from a husband to his wife and has remained in the same family ever since. Many decades later, it became one of the first historic vehicles to be restored in the National Motor Museum’s restoration workshop.

The Luxury of Motoring not only showcases a selection of the most luxurious cars ever built but tells the story of their design, the people who owned them and the chauffeurs who drove them. Spanning the golden age of luxury motoring to today’s aspirational cars, perceptions of taste and class are themes that are explored through a range of fascinating objects, films and rarely seen images from the National Motor Museum Trust’s archives.

At the glittering heart of the display is a centrepiece of 28 Lalique glass car mascots on show together for the first time. The owner of the private collection chose the National Motor Museum as the home of motoring and therefore the perfect setting to showcase his treasures. From the light radiating, delicate veined wings of a dragonfly to the heartiest falcon mascot with its thick, tapered neck which fits tightly into the mount, the collection includes majestic animals and human forms that bring art into everyday life. The collection is on loan courtesy of Dawson’s Auctioneers & Valuers at Maidenhead.

To celebrate the new gallery, why not enter a competition to say What makes your car luxury? Whether it’s fluffy dice and cushions or a must-have Mercedes, share pictures of what makes your car special. To enter, share your pictures and suggestions on Twitter @Beaulieu_Hants, Facebook at /nationalmotormuseum, Instagram @national_motor_museum or on email to competitions@beaulieu.co.uk. See www.beaulieu.co.uk/the-luxury-of-motoring/ for more details. The winner will be invited for a VIP behind-the-scenes tour of Beaulieu with exclusive access to areas of the National Motor Museum not usually open to visitors.

The Luxury of Motoring display can be seen as part of a visit to Beaulieu. A ticket to Beaulieu includes entry to the National Motor Museum with its collection of more than 250 vehicles from throughout motoring history, the new-look World of Top Gear, On Screen Cars, the ancestral Montagu family home of Palace House, 13th century Beaulieu Abbey and the stunning grounds and gardens. Tickets can be bought in advance online. For tickets or more information see www.beaulieu.co.uk or call 01590 612345.

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

Experience Freedom and the NEC Show.

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Spent a fair chunk of this week at the NEC show on the CAMC temporary site. The convenience of it outweighs all other considerations – just stagger the hundred metres to the bus and the next thing you’re at the main entrance to the halls.

I was really impressed with the Experience Freedom stand – all about attracting newcomers to the lifestyle and offering alternative accommodation types for people to consider. The website is well worth a tour at EXPERIENCE FREEDOM and also of course on twitter @XPFreedomUK On the subject of twitter some people tell me they are using it less – for me I am using it more and love it just as much as ever @motorhomenews

All in all a great show – but nice to be home!

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews

A visit to Manchester.

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One of my children – Anna – is by way of being a standup comedian and I was in Manchester this week watching her gig. Obviously I am totally biased but it was another excellent performance, a fifteen minute chat with edge which got lots of laughs and applause.

Later that evening I walked the mile home and in doing so walked past Manchester Southern Cemetery. This is Europe’s second largest municipal cemetery and takes a long time to walk past even at eleven o’clock at night along Barlow Moor Road. It is the final resting place of Sir Matt Busby, L S Lowry, Tony Wilson “Mr Manchester” and Ernest Marples and many other famous people. One of the signs also reminded me this is a famous Commonwealth War Graves Commission site with some 1228 identified casualties.

So, as I wandered home smiling at Anna’s act I resolved to return to the cemetery in daylight and have a wander round. Readers of this blog will know I have an interest in WWI and WWII history and it often escapes notice that many casualties – of many nationalities – were returned to the UK for operations and treatment but, sadly and inevitably, perished as a result of their wounds and of course they were afforded in death the same respect as had they perished in the active field of warfare.

During the First World War, Manchester contained between thirty and forty war hospitals including the 2nd Western General Hospital and the Nell Lane Military Hospital for prisoners of war. Many of those buried in the cemeteries and churchyards of the city died in a long list of Manchester hospitals. It is to the enormous credit of Manchester that the city cared for so many casualties many of whom survived even though by today’s standards medical knowhow for trauma injuries was in its infancy.

There is also a screen wall (one of my pictures) bearing many names who were cremated and, of course, rightly honoured.

For me these visits remind me of the numbing number of casualties, that it remains as important as ever that we remember and, above all, we avoid for ever conflicts of this scale.

For some factual information I have referred to the CWGC website:

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Christopher Macgowan

@motorhomenews