1066 and all that

On Thursday I took my last steroid and didn’t go to CCHU. The three week cycle has ended!

A week ago I drove the furthest I have driven in a day this year – to Wrexham and back which is about 360 miles / 7 hours. Normally not a problem but over the past few months I have not been venturing far (for no particular reason other than there were no suitable destinations we wanted to visit).  I had been a bit concerned about the return journey given my propensity for postprandial  dozes. So early (well by the time I had given the dog a good walk  it was 8am) we headed for the M40 and north. Then on to the M42 at that confusing junction where if you want to go left you stay in the right hand lane, but if you want to go right you stay in the left hand lane. The motorway then splits and crosses itself (not sure if there is any religious significance).

Our SatNav takes us from the M40 along the M42 to the east and on to the M6 but I prefer to go clockwise round Birmingham . So we keep in the right hand lane so as to go left and after a pitstop at the Services on the M42 we join the M5 then a brief interval on the M6 before heading west on the M54. Sounds like a whole box of bolts (that’s a joke for any engineers among you but they must be pretty large bolts.  I will explain – the number after the “M” is the   diameter of the bolt, in millimetres, so the M54 will be nearly two inches across and several inches long. I probably have an M6 bolt on my shelves but definitely don’t have an M40, let alone one that crosses itself).

When we leave the motorway we head north and are almost in the land of unpronounceable names with lots of ‘L’s in them. In fact we do pass a sign saying Croeso y Cymru and nearly see some mountains in the distance so I feel welcomed. However we are stuck with English sounding place names as we arrive at Wrexham (subtitled Wrecsam) although it feels more Welsh than I expected. We are here for Wrexham’s History Alive event which this year celebrates the 950th anniversary of 1066 aka the Battle of Hastings. This is an annual event which started as a Veteran and Vintage Machinery Rally in the 1980s and expanded in 2009 to include historical re-enactors and community heritage displays.


I was aware that there were two battles leading up to the Battle of Hastings in the second of which King Harold defeated the Vikings at Stamford Bridge before dashing down to Hastings to face the Normans. The re-enactors took us through the day long battle which in fact was a close run thing – possibly even closer than the Brexit vote – and the Normans were nearly defeated in two other battles before they eventually reached London.


Apart from the re-enactment of the Battle of Hastings there was a display of historic vehicles which is always a bit salutary when some of the ‘historic’ vehicles are ones that I knew as prototypes! Quite a few Morris’s which I took photographs of in case I can use them in one of my talks. There was also the first proper outing of The Whole Hog Tavern where they were serving very tasty paella and pork and beef baps which went down well even among the visiting Saxons.  They can do a whole hog when required, but usually something less is more appropriate.


Now ‘bap’ is quite a regional word – when I was working in Coventry a trolley used to come round every morning and I would buy a sausage batch for my breakfast. When I moved a few miles up the road to Land Rover at Solihull there was no trolley but there was a canteen. So I went in and saw that they had sausage batches for sale so I asked for one and got a very bemused look. I pointed to the sausage batches which got the response “Oh you mean a sausage bap”. Suitably chastened I thenceforward had sausage baps for breakfast. Tasted the same as sausage batches though!




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