The Crimson Welshman left here a couple of hours ago, having borrowed my sofa for a couple of days. As luck would have it, he managed to get here on the weekend of the annual Crash-Box Classic Car Club rally at Powderham Castle, so we’ve been up to quite a lot in between the downpours.

I met the Crimson Express on Friday evening, and we headed back to the flat to have some beer and work out where we were going to spend the evening. After a laughable absence of deliberation we decided on the Grove, which is a nice pub on the sea front that’s great if you watch your sunglasses like a hawk. After a restful couple of beers in there we made our way to the Ganges for curry and more beer before ambling back to mon repos for gin and tonics and some more beer. I really regretted that curry on Saturday morning, but as usual it was nice at the time. The Ganges is a great restaurant, where you can always get a table and they play some truly bizarre music. Usually it’s sitar versions of famous popular songs. Watch their Madras sauce, though: it’s a bit on the spicy side.

When I came back from a turn in the garden to find my Cambrian comrade had fallen asleep, I called it a night. It certainly was a long and broken night, requiring early-morning window opening and allowing for very little actual sleep. Eventually I gave up the unequal struggle against consciousness at about nine, which I reckoned to be a vaguely respectable time for a chap to start making tea.

Once we’d tidied ourselves up enough to pass for human we hopped into Sceadufell and headed over to the car show. This is only the other side of the river from Exmouth, but the nearest bridge is at Exeter and it’s a long detour.  We got there around one, expecting the heavens to open at any moment, and immediately I began to take pictures. These are the highlights of my day.

A Ford Mustang that turned out to have bullet hole transfers stuck to it.

A Ford Mustang that turned out to have bullet hole transfers stuck to it.

Another of Ford's classics, this time from Ford UK: an Escort RS2000

Another of Ford's classics, this time from Ford UK: an Escort RS2000

A CG 1200 Spider, one of only twenty made. Subtle colour.

A CG 1200 Spider, one of only twenty made. Subtle colour.

More French engineering. This 1906 Renault upstaged all of its newer relatives on their stand.

More French engineering. This 1906 Renault upstaged all of its newer relatives on their stand.

People rave about the Veyron, but this is what I call a Bugatti.

People rave about the Veyron, but this is what I call a Bugatti.

The show was so popular that James Bond had turned up. Well, a silver-grey Aston Martin DB5 did anyway.

The show was so popular that James Bond had turned up. Well, a silver-grey Aston Martin DB5 had anyway.

Some really nice Bentleys that are worth the same as a small suburban housing development.

Some really nice Bentleys that are worth the same as a small suburban housing development.

The beauty of this Alvis is only partially marred by the Crimson intrusion.

The beauty of this Alvis is only partially marred by the Crimson intrusion.

It's the 101st anniversary of the Ford Model T this year. Happy birthday, Lizzie

It's the 101st anniversary of the Ford Model T this year. Happy birthday, Lizzie

This Sherpley Speed Six lost an argument with a French bridge. The owner is working on repairing it.

This Sherpley Speed Six lost an argument with a French bridge. The owner is working on repairing it.

A native American dream bike. One of many nice motorcycles that we saw.

A native American dream bike. One of many nice motorcycles that we saw.

It wasn’t just about cars, of course. I ran into my compadres from the MX-5 Owners’ Club, which this year celebrates its fifteenth anniversary and the twentieth anniversary of the MX-5 itself. I got to be in the picture, despite not having got Sceadufell down on the list to go on our stand. There were also a number of stores selling various car parts, tools and assorted bric-à-brac, one of the more obscure items being a very distressed four-inch shell casing. I needed an umbrella stand, so I bought it.

I pose with my new purchase in front of a suitable vehicle.

I pose with my new purchase in front of a suitable vehicle. I had to wait about a minute for the picture to happen, so my expression slipped a bit.

At about half-past three on Saturday afternoon, the threatened rain arrived. We left the show just as it started, and by the time we got back to HQ it had settled in for the night. We decided to catch the early showing of the new Sacha Baron Cohen film, then eat some pizza, start drinking and choose a pub.

How exactly can I describe Brüno? ‘Unbelievably obscene’ is certainly one description; ‘breathtakingly offensive’ is another, and equally apt. I think that the description that best suits my experience of it, however, is ‘the funniest thing I’ve seen all year’. From the eponymous hero’s Velcro suit disaster, to Cohen being chased by enraged orthodox Jews, to the cage fight that turns into a gay love scene, it just never stops providing scenes that make you laugh like an idiot while disbelieving the sheer tastelessness of it all. Par exemple: at one point Brüno declares his intention to become “the greatest Austrian superstar since Adolf Hitler”. The list of groups that might be offended by this film is so long that I think everyone belongs to at least one of them. The star will get himself lynched one of these days, but I hope it doesn’t happen for a long time yet.

We carried through our plan to the letter, and even got a chance to play some pool. The band in the Phoenix were great, and when finally, back at the flat, we drank our last gin and tonics of the evening, we did so with the knowledge of a day replete with achievement.

This morning I suffered. I’m still suffering, despite having a walk along the beach in the sunshine; despite having found a copy of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell at the car-boot sale.  I did, however, manage to clean up my new umbrella stand by soaking it in the bath for a couple of hours. I left most of the patina in place, but I gave it enough Brasso to clean off the outer layer of dirt and give it a slight metallic sheen. It looks good in the corner next to the bookshelf.

My clean shell casing in all its majesty, complete with umbrella.

My clean shell casing in all its majesty, complete with umbrella.

Now that I’ve reported all of the significant events of this weekend, I think it’s high time that I got to bed. Too many great songs have come from the random play function over the last couple of days for me to list them all, but following a Gregorian chant with the Deftones was a stroke of genius on the part of my computer. With that I shall bid you good night.

Good night (told you).

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