The actual meeting was fairly quiet and uneventful: a little Official Business (mostly sorting out date and venue for the Christmas Lunch), a lot of chatting about cars, a bit of chatting about other stuff, and some CAKE (left over from the branch's 1st birthday party, which I didn't go to). It was slightly annoying to be in a real ale pub (albeit only Greene King) and not be able to drink, but a reasonably-priced tomato juice (complete with worcester sauce and tabasco) cheered me up a bit. I was a bit disappointed to see that only one other member actually brought their Morris to the meet -- most people had come in their boring modern cars -- but the one that was there was very shiny, a gleaming white Morris 1000 which I admired briefly on the way back to my car.
I think the drive there and back was probably the most eventful bit of the evening, though, to be honest. The club meets at the Three Kings in Haddenham. In summer, getting to Haddenham would involve 20 minutes of pleasant driving across the wide open spaces of the fens, with the early evening sun setting the surrounding fields ablaze with colour. Given this, it seems somewhat ironic that I haven't managed to get round to attending a meeting until October, when the journey is transformed into a 30-minute battle down the A10 in the dark and the rain, peering past the windscreen wipers which increasingly seem to be not wiping, but drowning.
Nonetheless, I make it to Haddenham, and turn up Station Road (the given address of the pub), and start looking out for a pub. Perhaps it's the dark, or the rain, or perhaps I'm just unobservant, but I can't see a pub. I drive along Station Road until the road wanders out into the fenny darkness; figuring (rightly) that I've missed the pub, I turn round in a layby and come back down Station Road. Just before I get back to the crossroads, I see the pub. Hurrah! Now to find the car-park, before I get any wetter (opening the window is the only way of de-misting the windscreen, and while a wet shoulder is preferable to a misted-up windscreen, my shoulder is getting tired of being wet now).
I think I drove up and down Station Road and adjacent roads six weary times, punctuated by awkward 3-point turns in drives and laybys, before I finally gave up and parked on the road outside the One-Stop. I carefully parked as close as I could in front of White Van Man (having seen that he had plenty of space behind him) so that I wasn't blocking a driveway, and tumbled out of the car in a stressy mess of soggy clothes and directions and gloves and handbags and hair. I'd just locked the car door when White Van Man decided to leave his parking space; he ignored the three feet or so of space behind him, instead driving forward straight into my bumper. I don't think he heard a single word that I yelled at him before he drove away, but it's probably just as well; I wasn't terribly coherent by that point. (And no, I didn't get the number, because the only pen I might have had on my person was buried somewhere in my handbag, and the only piece of paper I had was slowly disintegrating in the rain.) Fortunately no damage done as far as I can tell, and that's what bumpers are for after all, but it didn't help my mood.
Anyway, it turns out that while the pub is on Station Road, the car park is on the road from which I'd turned on to Station Road -- I was too busy looking for the road given in the address to notice a poorly-signposted car park on a completely different road. (Oh, okay, it probably wasn't that poorly signposted; I suspect in daylight I'd have noticed it.) Still, at least I know where the car park is now, and I made it back without incident. And at least it wasn't raining by then, so I could actually keep up a reasonable speed on the A10.
I'm getting better at finding the headlight-dipping switch (it's on the floor, to the left of the clutch and a bit higher up), but realising that it's probably a waste of time dipping them at all -- even on full-beam they're weaker than a modern car's dipped headlights. (Hell, they're probably weaker than the sidelights of some modern cars, given the increasingly ridiculous stadium-floodlighting I've seen out and about on the roads.)
This journey was also the first one in Patricia where I had MUSIC to keep me company -- sion_a lent me a rather nifty 80s tape-player for the journey, so I had the Oysterband live and acoustic (if slightly tinny) in my passenger seat. And it's not often you can say that. :-)
One volume control is about all I can cope with while I'm driving, which is fortunately about all the tape-player had; however, having music on made me realise just how noisy the car actually is. Still, I sang along cheerfully until the tape ended, and then discovered that I couldn't get the tape-player open to turn the tape over. Not sure what I did to it but sion_a managed to open it again when I got home (if with a bit of trouble) so maybe I haven't actually broken it... on the other hand the tape-player's probably nearly as old as I am so it's hardly surprising if it's a bit broken in places. <sigh>
Anyway... bedtime now, I think. I need to try to avoid losing all the sleep that I caught up on at the weekend! Fortunately I'm working from home tomorrow, so I don't have to get up too early.