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May 17th at Canons Ashby

It was a fine, dry spring day, but tempered by a cool breeze. The turnout of cars was disappointingly low but it was a case of “the right crowd and no crowding”. So what did the attendees enjoy during the day?


As the faithful gathered at Canons Ashby, an early topic of conversation was about the picturesque scenery seen while travelling along the byways of Northamptonshire. Many had only seen the county while dashing to nearby Silverstone. We were fortunate enough to observe a red kite soaring effortlessly at a great height on the thermal currents, whilst listening to bird song in the trees and hedges – a perfect British spring day.

Canons Ashby house is small but has a fascinating history. Much too long for this report but those who did visit it and the ancient priory, now the village church, found it was time well spent in the tranquil surroundings. At the same time as our own picnic, a jazz picnic was being held in the gardens. This was far enough away from our register parking to cause no inconvenience to non-jazz lovers. During the afternoon the main car park was full and the NT asked if they could use the vacant space in our paddock. This turned to our advantage when 2 beautiful MGs arrived – a black J2 Magna (MMM Reg) and a red TF (T-reg). In the best tradition of the Marque of Friendship they joined us for a chat before going off to the tea rooms for a cream tea.

We were also joined by a young couple who are actively looking for a Magnette and were able to demonstrate the various differences and point out the pitfalls to be avoided.

All learnt a lesson which could prove invaluable – how not to lock a Magnette. Nobody had realised that if you lock all 4 doors using the handle on the inside before shutting the doors from the outside, the car’s key will not unlock the driver’s door. The only way in is to use a wire coat hanger. Time taken – 23mins. If you lock the driver’s door using the key, the inside door handle remains vertical, instead of being inclined towards the front of the car. This suggests that using the key disengages the inside door handle. So, the moral is, use the key and don’t get locked out. Alternatively, never go out without a wire coat hanger.

Just to ensure that the little grey cells were exercised, each entrant was issued with the ‘Paddock Picnic Brain Teasers’, a list of 25 questions in 5 different categories. The winner was John Hall together with his wife and 2 sons who scored a total of 15 points.

So ended a pleasurable day but tinged with sadness as the funeral of Lou Shorten was recalled by those who attended.

Looking to the future, we have MG Live at Silverstone on June 20th/21st and the Buckinghamshire Rail Centre at Quainton on July 12th. Come and visit us on our stand at Silverstone.

John Harris

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