Brass Monkey Run 1st January 2012
Following on from interest in the inaugural Brass Monkey Run last year, we decided to have another run this year to kick-start the SHVR social calendar. The idea was to have a different starting point to keep a bit of interest in the run, so this year the start would be at the Dunvant Rugby Club car park on the bank holiday Monday, not to have people worrying about New Year celebrations and driving early on the next morning.
We had asked for names and food choices to allow our finishing venue to plan ahead for our invasion without getting caught out with a lack of food or room. Little were we to know this would come back and haunt us later on.
Last year we were pleased with the response to the idea. This year it was even better, we were amazed at the turnout with a much larger number of members making the effort to join in for the morning out with 25 cars in all.
What started off as a drying morning soon became a wet one as members were standing around talking to each other and comparing Christmas holiday period tales. Most headed for the sanctuary of their cars but one or two stuck it out until the next dry spell. By now though, those who had arrived topless, were forced to put their hoods up. Much to the amusement of our Chairman, who had received some derogatory comments earlier for having a hardtop on his MG F. He who laughs last etc. sprang to mind, no doubt.
Trevor Owen upstaged us all by being the first member to renew his 2012 membership with our membership secretary Keith; much banter followed from one or two of the nearby members as the formal presentation of the cheque was made.
Time for the off after a couple of queries from a couple of drivers who had read through the proposed route. Assuring them of the accuracy of the route sheets, we watched as the cars left the car park and followed on at the rear as a sweeper car for any mishaps.
We did notice two large cars (no names) that turned in the opposite direction to everyone else, not a good start we thought.
When you plan a route, you tend not to look at directions on the day, driving from memory. Arriving at Gowerton we took the old road alongside the back of the supermarket. As we did so, we noticed a good number of cars turning to the right at the lights, not as intended by us. They should have been turning to the left; however, we stopped to see if Roy Miles and his Wolseley were ok, which was parked up short of the traffic lights. Assured that he would be alright, he had Paul as back-up, Sally and I left discussing the route choice of the previous cars as we turned left at the lights. Doubt began to creep in. Why would so many make the same mistake? We knew lots would just follow the car in front, but we began to worry about the arrival of cars at the finish. Time to pull over and read the route, just in case. That was when we realised that the route sheet was totally wrong! The beginning was correct, the rest of it was last year’s route, how could it tie-up? What had happened?
We tried contacting a number of people by mobile but were out of luck. They were either in an area with no signal, or they were switched off. No choice but to turn around and go straight to the finish and see what happened. Surprise, surprise, we were one of the last cars to get to the car park in Mumbles. Time to face the music!
I have to say that everyone took it in good humour, with most following the tail of the route and ending up in the right place as intended.
Walking in to Francesco’s, we were greeted with a lot of knowing looks and laughter. No doubt I will suffer for today later in the year. The restaurant was full, bulging with hungry SHVR-ites and staff that looked like they were dealing with the Boxing Day sales.
In fairness to the owner, we were over-subscribed by a good margin, with people standing and no more seats available, but they got on with serving the orders quickly and without fuss. Top marks to them.
Unfortunately, a number of members had to eat alfresco which was not the intended end of the run. I hope it won’t have put them off future runs.
It looks as if we have outgrown small restaurants as a finish to our runs, based on the numbers who turned up for this year’s run.
As for the dyslexic route given out at the start, an explanation. Even if you have been over and over the route a number of times, read it like a stranger. No matter how many times you have typed or re-typed the instructions. Read them again every time.
I have an older computer which is linked to the printer. This is the one I started everything off on. I have a cheapy laptop, this I use for most typing when I can. I typed over last year’s run to save the format on the old computer and left it half done. When time was available, I finished the route off on the laptop, committed it to a memory stick to print on the PC. Now comes the good bit! I printed off the wrong sheet, already on the PC, and that is how you all got the wrong route sheet. Human error, old age, senility, call it what you will. Computers are only as good as the tired old human telling it what to do. Which is why in all good Sci-fi films, the computers try to get rid of the humans as inferior and interfering pests.
Apologies to all who took part in the inadvertent initiative test. I hope you enjoyed the day regardless of the errors and hope you will all come back for more.
© The Swansea Historic Vehicle Register 2009