Celebrating the first ten years of chasing the dream (2008 – 2018) !!!
Well, what an amazing weekend that was!
I thought we were going to have a leisurely drive to the JEC regional show in Doncaster, where Rob had been invited to judge the Concours d’Elegance. I assumed we would be leaving around lunchtime Saturday 11th August for Sunday 12th August, but how wrong I was!
At the beginning of the year I had mentioned to Rob Jenner, Paul Keating and Patch Jobson that 11th August 2018 marked 10 years of Xclusively Jaguar – my very 1st newsletter being sent out on 11th August 2008. I said I would love to celebrate the occasion somehow and had considered both a large event to engage as many people as possible or a small event for a few close friends, sponsors etc.
After an initial discussion in February, all went quiet and I assumed there was no interest, so I shelved the idea and very soon my diary filled up with appointments for August which rendered any form of celebration impossible …… or so I thought !!!
August came around far too quickly – 4/5th we were away on our JEC Edinburgh weekend in Loch Fyne; a quick change of luggage and on Tuesday/Wednesday 7/8th we were off to visit CKL Developments and Eagle E types on the South Coast; late home at 3am Friday I thought I had until midday Saturday to repack and enjoy a Saturday morning lie-in until Rob told me we had to be at Berwick Station for 7.30am!
I was very shocked to hear that we were apparently going to Doncaster by train, but thought perhaps there was a surprise involved, such as a trip on a steam train, so I didn’t ask any questions. I remember thinking it would be strange to arrive at a car show with no car. Were we being collected from the station by a local JEC member, or would Rob order a taxi? What would I do at the show with no cleaning products and no car of my own to clean?
Arriving at York, Rob made no attempt to disembark and I noted that the next stop was Kings Cross, London! Mmm I thought, this will be a long weekend, because whatever/wherever we are going/doing today, we still have to get back to Doncaster for tomorrow morning and first thing Monday we are off to the Orkney Islands, so whatever can Rob have planned for one day only?
I noticed the date and mentioned to Rob that it was 11th August – the 10th anniversary of Xclusively Jaguar, but he didn’t react, so I assumed he wasn’t interested!
At Kings Cross I was convinced that London was our destination, but we then boarded another train which took us out of the city and terminated at Gatwick. Rob asked me if I had my passport and when I said no, he said, “Just as well I packed it then!” However, I still wasn’t convinced that we were leaving the country because of the time constraints.
Arriving at the B&B, we went to our room and made ourselves drinks. Very soon after, there was a knock at the door, and Rob asked me to answer it. Expecting to see the proprietor of the B&B, to my utter astonishment, there stood Paul Keating from Edinburgh!
With merely a smiley hello and no explanation, Paul handed me a card and an interesting looking bag, which turned out to be 2 bottles of my favourite gin – also from Edinburgh! At this point I must admit that I was right to assume that the anniversary of Xclusively Jaguar was the reason for the card and gin! I accepted Paul and Rob’s explanation that my wish for a dinner to celebrate the anniversary had been noted and as Paul was working in the area that weekend, Rob had agreed to meet up in Surrey, and Paul had booked a table for 3 at a local restaurant.
I was looking forward to dinner with Rob and Paul, as we always get on very well, so I showered, dressed and went downstairs with Rob at 7pm to wait in the lounge for Paul. Five minutes later, the lounge door opened and ………. there stood David Marks, grinning!
At this point I was suitably stunned, and having got over this shock, as the lounge door opened for the second time I expected to see Paul, but in walked Patch Jobson from Devon!
More shocked than ever, I began to wonder who would walk in next? Well, this time it was 2 people – Jamie Ryan (formerly Managing Director of Millers Oils) and his wife, Ann-Marie!
Finally, Paul walked into the room and Rob suggested that it was time to leave for dinner. ‘Is that it then?’ I asked, ‘or is anyone else going to arrive?’ Rob assured me that, that was it!
The courtesy car took us to Stanhill Court Hotel for dinner, which was another surprise, and having eaten here before, I knew it would be very good!
Being so close to where Nigel Webb lives, I did wonder if he would be joining us, and I was not disappointed – as we were ordering drinks, he arrived with Wendy and we all sat down to a most enjoyable meal.
Rob explained that, as was my original wish, here were a few specially chosen close friends to celebrate 10 years of Xclusively Jaguar with me. Jim Randle had also been invited, but at the very last minute illness had prevented him from joining us.
Julian Barratt was also unable to make it, but had sent a bespoke card with best wishes and 2 bottles of excellent champagne in his absence! We toasted the anniversary with the champagne and drank to the next 10 years!
I was still baffled by how everyone had got here, as there had been no Jaguars outside the B&B – it transpired that they had all been well hidden!
At that time, Brucie was at David Marks Garage being serviced, so I asked David if he had driven Brucie to the B&B ‘No!’ he said, ‘You saw the pictures of Brucie in pieces at the garage!’
During the conversation that evening Nigel Webb casually suggested that as we were all here we may as well visit his museum in the morning, and everyone agreed that this was an excellent idea, so Nigel further suggested meeting at 11am for coffee and a tour.
Baffled once more, I pointed out to Rob that we were supposed to be in Doncaster in the morning, and I couldn’t work out how we would get there, unless Jamie and Ann-Marie were giving us a lift back to Yorkshire early in the morning. Rob pointed out that Patch was stepping in and going to Doncaster instead!
Towards the end of the evening Patch presented me with a montage he had produced to commemorate the first 10 years of Xclusively Jaguar!
Sunday morning ……… Patch had left early in order to be in Doncaster, and the rest of us breakfasted together. Following breakfast, we packed and came downstairs to find that David and Paul had already gone to Nigel Webb’s house. I was told that because they had no car, they had taken the offer of a lift in the B&B courtesy car, which was leaving at a certain time.
Jamie and Ann-Marie then offered Rob and I a lift in their X351 and we all converged at Nigel’s house, where we were offered tea and a tour of his extensive collection of Jaguar memorabilia.
Eventually, Nigel suggested we go and have a look at the museum. The first exhibit as we walked through the door was Nigel’s latest purchase – a Mark 1 formerly raced by Ivor Bueb under the number IVA 400.
Despite having been here on four previous occasions, there is so much to take in that I was thoroughly absorbed when, after about 15 minutes, Nigel commented ‘I’ve just bought another car, I suppose we ought to take a look at that.’ It was down the other end of the museum and covered over, so I hadn’t got that far.
The story then emerged that David Marks had in fact driven Brucie down here and placed him in the museum. Nigel had then lent David a car to drive to the B&B the day before, and early this morning, David and Paul had driven back to Nigel’s to prepare Brucie for his unveiling! The visit was not impromptu as I had been led to believe and we were all invited into the house for coffee until Nigel had been given the nod to go to the museum!
I was totally overawed, but that was not the end!
Wendy had made lunch for us all, which was wonderful, so we returned to the house and the celebration continued. Sadly, we had to pass on the wine as we would be driving home later that day.
When it was time to leave, I drove Brucie out of the museum and then David Marks offered to take the wheel for the first part of the long journey back to Edinburgh – David very obviously enjoys driving Brucie, who at almost 175,000 miles belies his 20 years!
We arrived in Nottingham at 7pm, just in time for dinner, after which Rob, Paul and myself continued on our way home in my amazing X300 !!
How many Jaguar’s have been into the quadrangle at Windsor Castle AND spent a night in The Mike Hawthorn Museum with such revered company?
Brucie could tell a few good tales if he could speak!
With many thanks to: Ann-Marie and Jamie Ryan, David Marks, Julian Barratt, Nigel Webb, Patch Jobson, Paul Keating, Rob Jenner, Wendy Berry.
Many thanks to Paul Keating for creating a photographic record of this memorable occasion