Saturday, 27 August 2016

There Is A Swansea

I have been back to Wales! Twice in one year, oh jet setting me! Well car passenger me. Sunday 2nd July was the International Day for Gilbern Cars. And as you know, Meirionwen is a Gilbern. A Gilbern GT to be exact, the first model they made, and she is also an early example. So, the National Day was held in Wales this year and we knew we had to go as we couldn’t miss the chance of taking her back to the home of her birth for a family reunion, could we.

We were up at the crack of sparrows, 4am to be exact and left here at 5.20am for the drive west. I don’t think we were further than three miles from home when we heard a knock. As Andy had the previous day attached a small pewter dragon we named (okay I named) Idris to the front of Meirionwen, I was fearful he’d fallen off. So Andy got out to check and accidentally pulled him off his perch.
He was attached with nylon thread in case he did fall off.

Less than two further miles later, travelling down a lane, the rain started, so Andy prompted me to flick the dashboard switch to set the windscreen wipers off.

With an alarming PING!, one of the wiper blades flew off into the path of an oncoming National Express coach. Oh the horror! We turned around at our first opportunity and Andy got out to retrieve it. Thankfully it was okay and was quickly put back on. Andy commented that we could likely turn up at Swansea with just a steering wheel.

Nothing else too dramatic happened. We made it all the way to Wales without incident. Andy declared Meirionwen’s return as we crossed the Welsh border, by peeping the horn. Thankfully that didn’t fly off as it has in the past. Unprovoked I might add. So there we were, approaching the Severn Toll Booths. This is where we had more drama. A key pad with a card machine surely means a pin number in my book. Apparently not. Andy put his card in but it simply said to remove it. So we tried mine. Same thing. Then the car behind starts beeping us and shouting at us and we noticed the barrier had gone up but to us, we hadn’t paid, so we pressed the assistance button while the car behind continued bellowing at us. I was so stressed out I was getting a bit wibbly by this point, but all was well, the lady assured us no pin number was required and we were on our way.

The men responsible for the birth of the Gilbern car.

We eventually arrived in Swansea, four hours after leaving home and were spotted by a high visibility jacket wearing man who beckoned at us as we came to the traffic lights. He was one of the Gilbern spotters and guided us to the National Waterfront Museum where the event was taking place. We were just going to park in the general allotted area when we were approached by about three people, all part of the owners’ club, who urged us into the concours area. We protested a fair bit as Meirionwen certainly wasn’t prepared for the close scrutiny of concours judges. But they insisted and we meekly drove in and were pointed toward another GT, younger that Meirionwen and told to park there. I was still sure it was all a hideous misunderstanding, but who were we to argue with Gilbern people!

Us and another of the GT's.

Not sure what model the orange car is, a Genie or Invader. I am not very au fait with anything after the GT!

Andy says it is in fact a Genie :)

Once Meirionwen was safely parked we headed off to ‘Poons for breakfast then returned to the museum and got to meet absolutely oodles of people, all custodians of Gilberns, be they GTs, Genie’s or Invaders. It was good fun, though I was so much out of my comfort zone, as I am naturally shy so this was quite anxiety making for me.

More GT's!

Couldn't resist this photo opportunity could I!

We watched absolutely oodles of people crowded round Meirionwen and at such length, that we soon realised they were the concours judges. Nerve-wracking!

I must say, it was a lovely location for the event.

Playing around with selective colour settings on my camera!

So, it seemed the National Day clashed with the Swansea air show, so we got to see air displays!

I’ve never been to one before, so I was excited to see the Red Arrows. First though, I saw what I believe was a Lancaster Bomber! So low and so very dramatic! I think if it is was a Lancaster it must be the one which flew right over where I live, I could see it from the living room window! We were encouraged to walk down to the beach to watch the Red Arrows display but then got talking with the man who suggested it, so by the time we set off, they had already started, but we could still get a good view as we walked. They were fab! I’d never seen them before, well I saw one, by itself, but that’s hardly the same thing is it? Not as dramatic and rather low key really.

Once the show was over, or so we thought, we headed back, saw the friendliest pigeon in the world and made our way back to the museum just in time for the raffle. I was very surprised to hear my name called out as the first winner, but it turns out the GT next to us was owned by a couple, one of which was another Melanie! Then my name was called out, so I grabbed a huge bottle of Scotch with Andy in mind. And then Melanie was called out twice more, which was just getting silly. Finally, a man’s name was called to which someone in the crowd quipped, “He’s married to Melanie!”

We joked that they likely thought I would pick the raffle prize of a teddy bear, but oh no, I knew what I was after. Andy was sure all the gathered men would have been crestfallen when they saw me grab the bottle of Scotch!

Next came the concourse judging. Meirionwen only went and placed second in the GT category! Imagine how she could do if we knew she was entering!

I look oddly very short here, with my Medusa hair, it was so windy! The wind can be blamed for my hair, but how do I look so short? Must be the giant bottle of Scotch!

As the chairman of the club was trying to give a closing speech, a tornado bomber appeared and pretty much drowned him out so he had no choice but wrap things up and then we were all on our way home.

As neither of us had eaten since breakfast, Andy grabbed a packet of Hob Nobs biscuits when he was getting petrol. I then proceeded to choke on one. My that was scary! My throat was raw afterward and was still a bit odd a few days later.
Speaking of biscuits, we got a goody bag and inside were Gilbern GT shortbread biscuits!

Five and a half hours after leaving Swansea, we arrived home. How did it take us an hour and a half longer to get home is beyond me! I was more than ready to not be in a car anymore, I can tell you! Nine and a half hours, with brief leg stretching moments was not fun.

So, I can confirm, there is in fact a Swansea, as I have been there!


  1. Looks like fun. I was in wales 20 years ago beautiful place

    1. It was fun, a real adventure and Wales is a very beautiful place x

  2. Phew, what an adventurous trip to Wales you had! I can well imagine the scene at the Severn Toll Booths. We had some encounters with impatient people there too. But it seems you had a great day in the end, especially with lovely Meirionwen winning a prize! Well done! xxx

  3. Wow, what a great post. Lots of interesting stuff here.

  4. Ah wow, love all of these photos - especially the air show and congratulations on coming second, that's amazing! Glad you had such a good time and the area for the event looked lovely. - Tasha

  5. What a super day out! And hoorah for Meirionwen winning a prize; it's a lovely reward for all the love and care you and Andy give her.

  6. The joys of owning a vintage motor! Every journey for us ends up with some bit or another falling off, honestly you need nerves of steel!
    So pleased to hear that you won a prize after that horribly early start. You desrved a prize for looking such a glamorous owner, too! xxx

  7. Maybe you should go buy Sporty Spice or Scary Spice the next time you enter a raffle to avoid confusion? HEE HEE

  8. Adorable car shaped shortbread cookies/biscuits, 2nd place for your gorgeous auto, a stunning setting for this show, and thankfully no further car issues after those initial ones - that sounds like a smashingly enjoyable day out. Thank you for the lovely recap and for taking us along with you on your travels to Wales. It's such a beautiful part of the world!

    xoxo ♥ Jessica


Thank you for commenting!