The Classic Motor Show, NEC Birmingham

Here I go again, but fear not it is the last of the Fiat Season ☹.

I was waved off from work around 11.30 Thursday – in the rain which soon stopped so the car was being air dried – I didn’t want to be dripping all over our carpet! I safely arrived at the NEC which was the easy bit done but true to Club form, Zoe came to my aid and was my passenger to the stand and I join the hive of activity polishing cars to within an inch of their lives, then sitting with my foot hovering over the brake as I was pushed up onto ramps, then the front end jacked up onto other ramps.  Rod (Steyr Puch) was a mirror image, with Steve/Mandy (D) mirroring Vikki (F) in the front corners and Derek (Giardiniera) in the middle – what was there not to love??   Laura had really thought of everything, including a very clever handmade Remembrance Poppy for each car.  We got away for 3.30ish and booked into our relevant hotels.  I was well impressed with my room, with the fake French Baroque furniture and a bed big enough for a family of 4!  After a quick unpack (yes, I do that) I nipped into the shopping centre for a nose round, before meeting everyone in the bar – we were all quick to sign up for the loyalty card for 15% off food and drink.  Onto the meal which was not so impressive with huge delays, poor Vikki almost ended up eating alone.  No late-night drinking as it was a 7am breakfast, but did have to have a lesson on the Tassimo for the morning.

Well it was lucky I was up early, it took 20 mins for the Tassimo to give me a smattering of coffee, it was an Expresso, so filled it up with cold water to make it drinkable and went to breakfast.  As the waitress did not know how to use the Loyalty card, she only charged me for a buffet breakfast so that was a good result.  Off to NEC as planned at 7.45 to finalise the stand and nip off to auto-jumble before “Joe Public” arrived, I failed to find it but luckily Vikki and Janet got lost and came across it, so I nipped back, but could not find an old St Christopher bar-badge.

As expected there was great interest in our little babies.  I had a long chat with a lovely fella, Scott, (dubbed Gucci-boy as he has the Limited-Edition Gucci Fiat) he was so enthusiastic I really wanted to get my car out there and then to take him for a run-around!  He is local to me so hopefully we can meet up before events and can be my passenger every now and then until insurance allows him to be a proud owner.   We stayed till closing at 6.30 and got straight on a bus to the carpark and joined the queue to leave the complex.  As it was late we had no time to change, so straight out to eat in the pub next door.  Most retired, but the Shirleys and I had a night-cap in the hotel bar.

Another early night, another 20 min wait for a tiny coffee, I had just given up on it and put a sachet of Nescafe in the mug to turn my back and the machine kicked into life!  I gave amusement at breakfast trying to keep my toe pills under control, whoever invented torpedo pills obviously never tried to control them on a shiny hotel table!  Another busy day, one fella confidently said “why chose your club to join not the Enthusiasts?”, sadly for him he posed the question to me, Laura and Vikki, he did not know what hit him and joined on the spot 😊.  Shah also lives nearish me, so another potential convoy friend.  We were all shocked when we walked out to see a huge queue for the bus and it was pouring with rain, we chose the rain over an hour wait.  Again, no time to recover before dinner at Bella Pasta which was lovely despite being splashed by Zoe’s spaghetti bolognaise!!

Sunday was not so busy but strangely the time went much quicker.  FCB (the kiosk opposite), realised I had been drinking their coffee all weekend and gave me a completed loyalty card and they delivered the freebee as we packed up – good service.   We started to pack up at 5, the show closed at 5.30 to a tremendous sound of engines roaring and hooters hooting, it was incredible.  We worked like ants taking things down, packing boxes and then cars.  I was relieved of my duties at 6 and had a steady drive home, everyone being very courteous to classics and vintages trying to get out.  I was dreading the journey home in the dark but time sped on and so did I, reflecting at such a good end to the season, I was back in good time to a very welcoming Tinker.

                                                                                                       Felicity Greenfield