Windmills and Barns By David Regan
Hi. Just a quick note to inform you all that the first of Region 6 (Essex, Norfolk and Suffolk) events - as organised by myself - was a great success. I must admit that I was highly anxious nobody would turn up, or they wouldn’t like what was planned for the day but I was pleasantly surprised.
We met in the car park of The Palms Hotel, Hornchurch and I arrived early at 11.30am. I waited and waited and nobody came. What if I was the only one? Yikes! Thankfully Sam and Terry arrived in their silver Cappo at midday and we started chatting about the cars, club and stuff in general. It was their first event so we were all trying out something new and it broke the ice! Next to arrive were Paul and Mary. They have a red Cappo so at least we had one of each colour - alongside my yellow Suzuki X-90, which was receiving mixed reviews...
Philip and Linda came next - around 12.15 - by which time the others had escaped to the ever so warm sanctuary of the bar for hot drinks! They bought “BB” their lovely Bichon Frise dog who is far too cute to be called “Bog Brush” but seemed to have enjoyed the long ride. Their car has a beautifully modified interior, which was good as it shows what can be done to a Cappo!
We all went inside to warm up and, thankfully, Phil had the contact number of Clive and Yvonne, who were yet to arrive from Oxford. It was luck he called them as they were slightly lost in their lovely new Tigra. Once everyone was settled (and the sun started to show itself) we introduced ourselves, shared Cappo experiences and SCORE stories before setting off in convoy for Upminster Tithe Barn - only a few minutes away. I handed out the guides for the day - everyone seemed impressed with them and I think they were useful, even just to keep as a memento of the day!
We were shown around the barn (built in 1450) by a fascinating guide who was very knowledgeable and knew his stuff. The barn houses a vast collection of artifacts dating back to Roman times and right up to the present - including an electric washing machine from the 1930s which claims also to be able to mince meat, produce sausages, churn butter, mangle clothes and a few other bizarre things! Mmmm, tasty! After an hour or so, we decided to head off to the Windmill but Philip had managed to lock his car keys in his Cappo. Doh - time for remote locking I think.
After a quick rummage (and a trip to the Rugby Club) we produced a wire hanger or two and with the aid of the curators, guides and many bemused passers-by, Philip managed (don’t ask how) to retrieve his keys! We drove through Upminster town centre and made our way to the Smock Mill, built in 1803.
We managed to park on the field in front of the mill - thankfully I have a Suzuki 4x4, coping somewhat better than the Cappos following behind.
The mill suffered storm damage in January, which is a shame as locals are attempting to raise enough money to restore the mill back to working order. The ‘cap’ doesn’t turn into the wind, so the mill could not withstand the January storms and the sails were snapped off. Two have been removed and two remain so it all looks rather odd.
We were given a guided tour of the mill and told of the history of the site. There’s a really good view across Hornchurch and beyond from the top and you can imagine what a hard life the miller must have