Thursday, 27 January 2011

And home again - Bunny returns to the warren!

In November I headed over to the NEC in Birmingham for a rendezvous with Deadman Senior at the Classic Car and Bike Show. Our interest was largely around the bikes and we barely touched the massive car exhibition area. As a former West Midlands automotive engineer, Deadman Senior was able to provide me with his in-depth and first-hand experience of why the British bike industry failed; in one word – “Accountants”. Charming! If you ever come across the Hell Riders’ Wall of Death at an event, go and see the show. It is amazing.

Brave motorcylists circumnavigate the waistband of Deadman Seniors trousers!

And that was why 2010 was a vintage year for me. The organisers, military re-enactors, stall holders and the public who attend these events week in and week out all have a common passion which they love talking about. Don’t be shy just get out there in 2011, enjoy the events and meet people both new and old who share a common interest. I know that I will.

I only ask that if you come across me alone on the Deadman's stall please bear with me. I am not the vintage spectacle expert. I am sure that Deadman will not be away long, so humour me with talk of tax rates and such like until his return. But don’t ask for a discount – the accountant wouldn’t like it!

Bunny Hooper
The 1940’s accountant

Friday, 14 January 2011

The further adventures of Bunny

"Having a Mellor's moment - from Has Been to Sean Bean!?"

The North Norfolk Railway 1940’s weekend is held each year in September. Being local, this is an old favourite for both Deadman and I. Deadman was there again standing the stall. With Deadman Senior over for the weekend, I was relegated to the role of assistant to the assistant. The additional staffing on the stall resulted in a surprising increase in duties (more tea and buns, the butt of double the amount of jokes and partnering Deadman Senior on smokes breaks). As such, I didn’t manage to get out on the train from Holt to the events at the Sheringham and Weybourne stations. Still it was nice to enjoy the event from a base and have the chance to browse the stalls at Holt and pick up some items. As always, the low level Lancaster fly past remains a special draw for me at this event.

What do you mean, the trains delayed because of "leaves on the line"?

The following weekend in September saw another 1940s steam railway weekend, this time at the Nene Valley Valley Railway in Peterborough. The ticket office let me in for half price as I had come in “fancy dress”! I pocketed the saving and chose not to explain that I was dressed no differently to any other day of the year. There were battle group re-enactors on hand and I am pleased to report that the Nazis were defeated in the station yard skirmish.

Fiendish Nazi hides in hole beneath motorbike

In October the Canal Museum at Stoke Bruerne laid on their second Village at War weekend. At the centre of the event was the Canal Museum itself but the event had a real “blitz spirit” feel to it with the whole village seemingly getting involved. There were a large number of re-enactor groups on site and events held across the whole village. Another victorious skirmish on the exhibition field made it Allies 2 Nazis 0. Hurrah!

“The British Forced Enema Expeditionary Force in action”
to be continued.................

Sunday, 9 January 2011

The Travelling Accountant

2010 – A Vintage Year

I’m not one for New Year resolutions, but I do think that the turning of the year is a good time to reflect on the events of the previous twelve months and to think about plans for the year ahead. I made the effort to get out and about more in 2010 and here are my thoughts on some of the interesting vintage events that I made it to.

First trip out, I popped over to the east coast of Norfolk for Hemsby in April to help Deadman on the stall. Duties were light, mostly revolving around keeping Deadman in tea and holding interested customers in conversation until his return from the loo. Dressed in the usual 1940’s accountant style I must have looked like a dull 1950’s dad. However, everyone was welcoming and no one called me “pops”. Oh for James Nesbitt’s money and the opportunity to grow myself one of those fine quiffs. I enjoyed myself so much I went back for Hemsby 45 in October including the early morning car boot.

On Sunday Morning. Empty! Rockers up too late?

Hughenden Manor just outside the town of High Wycombe in Buckinghamshire is the former residence of Benjamin Disraeli, British Prime Minister during the late nineteenth century. I knew the Disraeli connection from my local schooling. The Victory at Hughenden 1940’s event in May told of the secret map making role performed on site during WW2 with RAF Bomber Command based close by. Not the biggest event of the year but some good re-enactor displays including the AFS, the Home Guard and a WW2 paratrooper drilling the kids. He scared the daylights out of them and I picked up some useful parenting tips.

Twinwoods over the August bank holiday weekend was the highlight of my vintage year; a great crossover show for fans of both the 1940s and 1950s on a genuinely interesting site. Two separate stages provided fine live music and dancing, including free lessons, from either era. I’m definitely heading back in 2011. Next time I will be suitably shod for a little rug cutting, just to prove that accountants can dance. Deadman’s stall had a fine position for the Arena Stage and provided some relief from the wind and rain.

to be continued..........