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Next section meeting - Thursday 29 June at The Three Horseshoes, Knockholt

Cotswold Alfa Day - Sunday 28th June 2009

In Praise of Dreaming Spires
 
For some time now I have wanted to organise or take part in a driving tour of the Cotswolds. So when the Cotswold Alfa section advertised as part of their Cotswold Alfa Day their version of the Giro Panoramico I was sold.
 
Determined to take advantage of the great weather, Helen and I travelled up the day before having found wonderful B&B close to the venue (http://www.bestcotswold.com/YewAccom.htm). After a hearty breakfast on Sunday morning with the sun cracking the flags, we set off to meet up with Fred, Sylvia, Damon, Terry & Anne at the start point for the Giro, Blades Coffee shop in Northleach.
 
Upon arrival the first thing that struck me was the number and variety of cars in the car-park. I counted at least 50 as we arrived and more were arriving with every minute. Once parked up we were directed to the Cotswold desk and presented with our map and souvenir window sticker. We were then directed inside to partake of our complimentary coffee before setting off at our leisure. 
 
Like many, we waited until the oldest cars made their way to the exit of the car park this included a gorgeous Alfa Monza. We then fell in behind a glorious Alfisti convoy. The Giro took us on a tour of stunning Oxfordshire and Gloucestershire countryside and picturesque villages over a 50 mile course. The map we were provided with was clear and concise and included a fun quiz.  
 
All too soon the drive was over and we entered the grounds of the beautiful Sudeley Castle. Our cars were directed to the Falcon lawn were we were organised into model groups. Once parked we unpacked the picnic and made our way to join other Alfa nuts who had sought out the shade of a large tree.
 
This was a splendid venue and right in the heart of the Cotswolds too. It was once the home of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII, and although some of the castle is a private home and not open to the public, the Long Room and the adjoining galleries are, and they contain a fascinating exhibition covering the Tudors and other important episodes in the castles history. As well as this there is also a sizeable restaurant, a gift shop, a plant centre, a pheasantry, a large adventure playground, a chapel containing Katherine Parr's tomb, and acres of beautiful gardens.
 
We all spent a wonderful afternoon ambling through the gardens, taking in the cars and meeting new friends. If ever there was a good example of how to run a car club, the Cotswold Alfa Section seem to have bottled the recipe. The day was well organised and friendly with some great driving and views.
 
I can highly recommend this event to others who could not make it this time. A word of warning however, next year is bound to attract more cars once word gets out, so my advice is to book early. Having witnessed the Giro first hand I see no reason why AROCKES cannot attempt something similar in Alfa’s Centenary year which should do us justice and with your support I’m sure we can pull it off.
 
PS if you would like to help plan and organise such an even in Kent and east Sussex please contact Jeff asap. I would hope to start planning in October.
 
Thanks Cotswold Section for a great day, and heaps of inspiration.
 
Mark Fuller
Chairman, Alfa Romeo Owners Club, Kent and East Sussex Section

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