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

Spring Alfa Day, Cotswold Wildlife Park - Sunday 29th April 2012

On Sunday 29th April 2012, the Cotswold Section of AROC hosted this year’s Spring Alfa Day. The SAD acronym pretty much summed up the day as far as the weather was concerned. It must have been very disappointing for the organisers as they watched the rain continue to fall with some force driven by a wind which wrote off many an umbrella, (no doubt improving the sales of AROC brollies no end).

However, if there is one thing that AROCKES members are not prepared to be, it is defeated by the weather and so a wet Sunday morning kicked off with ‘wet weather Alfas’ hooking up at the Knockholt Services. Doug and Jack Hodson in the 156 estate and David Smith in the ‘waterproof’ 916 spider set off for Clackett Lane Services where they met Mark Webster in his 3 litre 916 Spider. A considerable amount of wax had clearly been applied by Mark to his Spider which was beading water off the bonnet to a degree that made me wish I had made a bit more of an effort.

Having followed an interesting route which saw lots of Alfas heading in all sorts of directions away from one another, we eventually found the Cotswold Wildlife Park at Burford. In the section designated for AROCKES, we found Roger and Pam Smith in their Giulia Spider and Keith and Sharon Barker in their Brera. A 147 and 156 also joined us on the section row but I didn’t get to talk to the drivers and I couldn’t tell from the registrations alone who had also braved the weather. You know who you are!

Then things got really interesting. It is said that one needs to be slightly eccentric to own an Alfa Romeo. Well to prove the point, it had been decided that to mark the 200th anniversary of the birth of Kent’s favourite adopted son, Charles Dickens, we would attend the event dressed as Dickensian characters. It was no doubt envisaged that we would stroll resplendent in our costumes around the sun-soaked paddock. As it happened, we ran for the local Alfa Romeo dealers pavilion, (like everybody else), and formed a quick line for a photo! Then we wrung out our costumes and retired to our cars to try and dry out. And our efforts had not been in vain because Ken Carrington no less, awarded the 1st Prize for the best section theme to AROCKES! Another trophy for Doug’s cabinet in Pettswood to go with the one for Best Club Display at the Crystal Palace sprint event last year.

So all in all, the weather was appalling, driving felt like surfing at times, even the Cotswold Section called off their display, but our Alfas had made it to Burford and with a bit of help from Charles Dickens, we came away with some silverware and broad smiles across our faces.

As a footnote, on the way back, Doug spotted Roger and Pam at the side of the road with Roger poking around under the bonnet of his Spider. We pulled over and stuck a golfing umbrella over the open engine bay whilst Roger put in a new set of plugs which cured a misfire. But to show what a small world we really live in, a ‘Good Samaritan’ asked if we would like to use his garage. We had parked outside his house and he confessed to owning a 916 Spider and a diesel Sport wagon and knew that one day he may have to call upon the same favour from a complete stranger……..

David Smith

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