Spring Breakfast Meet and Roadrun
Saturday morning, 8th April – the day of our first organised run of the 2017 season – dawned, and the weather was ……….. bright sunshine – (clearly Dave Barton didn’t organise this one!) And it remained so for the whole day, in contrast to last year when every road run was marked by rain or sleet. So with a big smile, Jackie and I piled into the TF (I had not at that stage had a chance to dig the MGA out from its winter slumbers) and set off to meet up with the other participants at The Orchard View Farmshop for a bacon roll and tea breakfast. I had just replaced the springs and shocks in the TF for the later LE500 units for a less bone-shattering ride, and this was the acid test to see if this conversion makes for a more comfortable ride on our now appallingly pot-holed roads. A very good showing – 11 cars arrived for the run, and after enjoying our breakfast and admired the livestock at the farm (the cute new-born lambs were of particular interest to the girls, but being unsentimental, all I could visualise was them smothered in mint sauce and served with roast potatoes …).
We were then handed the tulip roadbooks to Greys Court, a National Trust property near
Henley, and set off. Dave Barton and I decided to set off early to try and arrange parking close to the house. We had earlier been told by the NT that we would have to park up in the main car park as they expected to be very busy with family visitors as it was the first weekend of the school holiday. The run, very ably organised by Clive Wayland, was through the country lanes of The Chilterns, and, naturally, took in Kop Hill (Clive is a big fan of The Climb, perhaps explaining why breakfast was at the farmshop, which is within hailing distance of Kop Hill).
Greys Court is one of my favourite local NT places, because it is in such a picturesque setting and because it is a bit less overpoweringly grandiose than other of their properties, and you can (almost) visualise yourself living there – well maybe you’d need a Lottery win first, but you know what I mean. After a mid-morning break for coffee in the cafe, we went around the house, and then enjoyed a leisurely stroll through the gardens the sunshine. A very pleasant way to spend a Saturday, so full marks and a big thank you to Clive for arranging this. Jackie and I had to leave a little earlier than the others, because we were going for dinner and the theatre in Oxford that evening. Hopefully we will enjoy many more sunny days out with the MGs this summer.
And did the new suspension on the TF make a difference? Yes, it did. The LE500 set-up is
reckoned to be 30% more comfortable than the original factory suspension for pre-2005 cars – I don’t know how you would quantify this, but I certainly noticed quite an improvement. If you re interested, you will find the spring/shock absorber units advertised on eBay for around £400 or a bit less (I bought mine at the MG Spares Day for £375) and had them fitted by Just Right in Witney for £100 + VAT. They would seem to be a viable alternative to the popular but more expensive Bilstein shock units for the TF.