A site for the news and history of the RCSMC and their pride and joy Jezebel

Month: September 2023

Isle of Wight 2023

All the vehicles (and people) lined up for one last photo at the end of the show. Left to right the vehicles are: Jezebel, Betty, Boanerges, Derrick, Big Nose, The vehicle formally mistakenly known as Penny Marsh (now sometimes known as Anne), and Clementine.

A year for the RCSMC would not be complete without our annual summer trip to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway to attend their Steam Festival. The event always promises to deliver plenty of interesting old vehicles, palatable ales and questionable meals made by alumni, and this year was no different.

Like basically all of our events, we started by actually driving there. It was an early start (for students at least) as all the vehicles made their way south before a quick stop for breakfast. You would think that after so many years of travelling to the Island, at least one person on each vehicle would be familiar with the route and you’d of course be wrong, everyone got lost. While Clem struggled up a hill that was far too steep for her recently rebuilt engine, Jez decided to avoid the terrifying A3 by taking a poorly thought through detour around a quaint vineyard and golf club. She crawled her way along a track the DVLA promised wasn’t a through road and tackled oversized speed bumps before finally being thwarted by a delivery van that refused to move for 10 minutes.

The truck in question… Oh well at least it gave us enough time to fill the radiator up again!

After a main road was finally found again everyone regrouped at Midhurst where much bread, cheese and pastries were purchased for the ferry ride. It was around this time the weather took a turn for the worst and absolutely everyone regretted picking the vehicles without a roof. We managed to make the ferry crossing on time in order to enjoy putting our tents up which was promptly finished upon finding out the beer tent was open.

Having established our camp (and more importantly where the beer was purchased) the fair could begin. As usual Jez and Clem stole the show in the various showcases while Bo and Derek were broken. Jez also got to participate in her first and final “Man and Machine” of this year before she was unfortunately grounded by poor weather. One welcome addition at this year’s fair was Jez’s newly acquired reservoir allowing her to pump into the nearby trees without any need for a large body of water. Now all we needed was a ludicrously long hose and continuous water supply! Irrespective of the questionable setup we used, the pumping was a spectacle for many to enjoy.

Students using our new pumping setup to put on a show for the public.

All the vehicles also enjoyed a Road-Run out to freshwater bay where a previous Bo Driver kindly offered to show us around Fort Redoubt, his converted Palmerston Fort, which had plenty for us to explore. After learning much about its history we retired to the nearest beer vendor for an unfortunately short amount of time before we had to rush back for mystery stoo. This year’s additions included, but were by no means limited to, big chunks of lemon and fig rolls. No matter what it contained, it was undoubtedly better than the homogenous rice served only two days prior.

To spare anyone seeing what the rice looked like on IoW here’s a much more pleasant photo of an owl that decided to perch on Jez’s bonnet before realising the brass was much too slippery.

The final night was spent in a local pub where everyone enjoyed great food and company. Jez just about made it after stealing some fuel from another vehicle in order to dart to the nearest petrol station. We were up early for the ferry the next day. Fortunately, breakfast had already been sorted for that morning, however, it did consist entirely of hard-boiled eggs. After eating a frankly alarming number of them, we set off back home on what was a helpfully uneventful drive. All vehicles arrived back at the garages mostly in one piece as Clem now appeared to have a slightly wonky wheel. At least it’s something to keep people busy before fresher’s start turning up!

Dennis Vehicle Extravaganza at Rural Life Living Museum

Jezebel was invited to join her kin at a show just for Dennis vehicles old and new at the Rural Life Living museum. The plan was to make it a day trip, leave nice and early, minimal stops on the way and spend as much time as possible interrogating other Dennis owners on who they get to repair their radiators. But that plan would be partially foiled by the po-po on the A3. Just as we left the A3 at Surbiton for a water stop the police officers asked us to pull over – no sirens, just a polite request from down within the open window of a police car.

They were not best pleased – they were scared for the passengers and like most officers they found it hard to wrap their heads around people sitting on Jez’s back. In fairness they did see a HGV make a particularly bad and close over take on the A3… but that’s a reason to pull them over, not us, right?

So there we were, driver waiting to see if they’d have a licence by the end of this interaction, and unsure if they’d force us on public transport while Jez is ‘recovered’ back to Imperial. Luckily the officers were able to admit their inability to properly assess the safety and legality of the situation, unfortunately this meant waiting for a specialist officer to arrive instead. This delayed us somewhat…. Once this specialist had arrived they soon resigned themselves to the fact that a 1916 fire engine is still legal, and given those are the seats, people can sit on them. But a compromise was made in the interest of everyone getting along – we would stick off the big duel carriage ways (a relief really, I don’t think we we’re gonna like the A3 getting any bigger than it was when we pulled off).

After establishing we weren’t a danger to traffic the police couldn’t resist a photo!

The rest of the driving was joyfully uneventful, so we made it to the show, fashionably late as always.

We saw many vehicles from LP8370 to DU179, to Mr Dennis’s VCC Dennis, and Dennis’ latest electric and hydrogen powered coaches. There were even an array of new and old Dennis lawn-mowers.

Jezebel enjoying the event with her fellow N-types LP8370 and DU179.

After much time basking in the sun, getting recommendations for various suppliers and peering into all manor of vehicle the time came for us to hurry home before it was too dark and gloomy. The trip back entailed far fewer police officers and Jez was back in the garage ready for a day of Great Exhibition Road Festival Alumni Tours the next day.