FRANK ELSON

Land Rover Monthly - - Contents - Talk­ing Frankly

Kel­marsh and Billing were the two main shows this year and, of course, the beloved Mar­jorie and my­self went to both of them.

The less said about the B&B we stayed at near Kel­marsh the bet­ter I think – suf­fice it to say that next year we will def­i­nitely find some­where other than The George at Des­bor­ough!

You will find com­pre­hen­sive re­views of Kel­marsh in the last is­sue of LRM and Billing in this month’s, but let’s just say, from our point of view that we en­joyed both shows.

There were lots of old friends at Kel­marsh and Billing, plenty of trade stands and club dis­plays, not to men­tion a va­ri­ety of events. I’m not sure if there was an off-road course at Kel­marsh [ There was and it was bril­liant – Ed.] but, of course, the main event at Billing, on Richard Ar­row­smith’s farm (across the river from the ac­tual Billing Aquadrome), was the off-road course orig­i­nally set out many years ago by David Mitchell, which has been very pro­fes­sion­ally mar­shalled by Char­lie Thorn and his bunch for a long, long time.

In fact, this year there was an­other of­froad course, so you got two for your money.

As usual, at Kel­marsh, Diana Tig­well – aka the Voice of Land Rover Shows – kept the main arena go­ing with her witty com­men­tat­ing and in­ter­views.

What on earth are we go­ing to do with our­selves now that Diana has fi­nally re­tired? It’s a ques­tion a lot of us Land Rover fans are ask­ing, All I know is that who­ever takes over from her will have to try very hard to match up... she is a la­gend in our com­mu­nity.

Again, Diana asked Dave Barker, David Mitchell and my­self to hand out cer­tifi­cates of merit to our favourite ve­hi­cles, spot­ted as we wan­dered the show grounds.

If you found one on your ve­hi­cle you can be jus­ti­fi­ably pleased that we picked it out. There wasn’t al­ways a driver on hand so I can’t give all the in­for­ma­tion here, but I did hand one out to a red V8 Se­ries I with a trailer, be­long­ing to a chap called John, sur­name un­known.

Then, there was a truly lovely and seem­ingly orig­i­nal brown Se­ries III with County stripes and a Macmil­lan Chal­lenge sticker. I was told that the owner of said Light­weight was called Andy, and he had driven it all the way from his home in Ger­many.

Paul As­ton owned the tidy red and yel­low Se­ries II For­ward Con­trol and Stephen Davis had an ex­tremely well-sorted 1995 Dis­cov­ery wear­ing camo.

We chat­ted for a while to Andy Ken­dall and his wife Rhian who

had trav­elled from South Wales in Katy, their 127 am­bu­lance con­verted into a camper. Still a work-in-progress, they said, but a lovely ex­pe­di­tion ve­hi­cle al­ready and wor­thy of a prize.

As ever we spent a lot of time – at both shows – with our good friends George and Pat Sim­mons from Cal­i­for­nia. Be­tween us we think they’ve been com­ing over to the UK for around 19 years... Al­ways such good com­pany at any Land Rover show.

A show is a show. There are al­ways lots of bud­dies to find and nat­ter with, plenty of ve­hi­cles to look at and, if you are so in­clined, an abun­dance of items to buy. Once again, I met new friends and chat­ted to LRM read­ers.

The two shows be­ing so close to­gether, not only in terms of date but also lo­ca­tion, was a bit of an odd­ity but if you man­aged to get to both – or ei­ther – then I’m as­sum­ing you must have en­joyed your­self.

Did ei­ther suf­fer be­cause of the other? I don’t know. How is that quan­tifi­able? I guess it’s down to the or­gan­is­ers and traders to an­swer. Did ev­ery­one, or any­one, make money? I do know that if you were a vis­i­tor to ei­ther, then you re­ally should have had a good time.

I don’t know if the ru­mours about next year in terms of dates are true, so I’m not go­ing to re­peat any of them here as they may well be con­firmed or de­nied by the time you read this. What I do know is that if there are two shows again and it is hu­manly pos­si­ble my Mar­jorie and me will be happy to at­tend both. Al­though we may not use the M6 toll road next time. While it avoided the mess that is the Birm­ing­ham Spaghetti Junc­tion and kept us mov­ing, the ser­vices where we de­cided to stop for lunch, were packed out – we even strug­gled to find some­where to park.

Many years ago I wrote a piece about road humps (or sleep­ing po­lice­men as some of us re­fer to them) and 20 mph lim­its. I said that, on the one hand, ev­ery­one was talk­ing about us­ing less fuel and, there­fore, caus­ing less pol­lu­tion and, on the other hand, mo­torists were be­ing forced to drive in lower gears – there­fore us­ing more fuel and pro­duc­ing more pol­lu­tion. Now, I read that the Gov­ern­ment is hand­ing out grants so that lo­cal high­ways au­thor­i­ties can re­move speed bumps to help cause less pol­lu­tion.

Frank has been in­volved with Land Rovers for more years than he cares to re­mem­ber. These days he drives an L322 Range Rover

“The two shows [Kel­marsh and Billing] be­ing so close to­gether, in date and lo­ca­tion, was an odd­ity”

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