Thursday, 21 June 2012

"Is it a kit car mate?"......

I'm sure that many owners have been approached in similar fashion by someone interested to have a natter with them about their car.

In similar vein some two years ago, I was parked overlooking the sea at Fleetwood, when a couple of chaps passed along the promenade and assuming they were out of earshot, one of them said, quite assuredly, to his obviously less knowledgeable companion that 'those haven't been made for years, that must be a replica!'

Ah well, we know better don't we?

Across the bay towards Fleetwood in the distance
Two days ago the day dawned beautifully, lovely to see the sun again in a June that has been apparently the worst on record. In the UK we have probably enjoyed only three weeks of sunshine since the start of the year, which must have made life very difficult for those working Morgan owners who rely on good weather at the weekend to enjoy their cars. Fortunately my wife and I are retired and can take our opportunities on any day.

The conversation as we ate our breakfast was concentrated on deciding where we should go for our next picnic in the 4/4. After a variety of suggestions had been offered, we decided on a place that, although we have lived most of our lives in this area, we had never visited, the ruined Abbey of Cockersands.

Lighthouse, Heysham Nuclear Power Station and the Lakeland Hills
My wife prepared food as I got the Morgan ready, strapping our two collapsible chairs on to the luggage rack and ensuring that our little picnic table was stowed on the back shelf.

With a brief stop in Great Eccleston, boosting our lunch, with a couple of rather splendid locally made pork pies of high repute, we continued, crossing the River Wyre on the Cartford Toll Bridge, then on to Pilling and the A588. This road took us across an area called Cockerham Sands where, traffic permitting, you can really revel in the performance of the car, and where in days of yore, before the sea defences were built, the tide often covered the road.

I remember as a child, on day trips to the Lake District, many occasions when father's Austin 12 only just reached the other end before the sea consumed the road. Turning left at Conder Green, where the little River Conder empties itself into Morecambe Bay, we made our way to the harbour at Glasson and then south along delightful country lanes, bordering the sea, to the car park overlooking the River Cocker estuary.

The Chapter House and ruined walls of Cockersands Abbey
Before setting up our picnic furniture, we set off along the coastal path to see the ruins of Cockersands Abbey, a former abbey near Cockerham in the City of Lancaster district of Lancashire. It was founded before 1184 as the Hospital of St Mary on a marsh belonging to Leicester Abbey. It was refounded as a Premonstratensian priory and subsequently elevated to an abbey in 1192. It also continued as a hospital.

The abbey was dissolved in 1539 and acquired by a John Kitchen. The site is now adjacent to a farm house and the only significant relic is the still intact, vaulted chapter house which was built in 1230 and used as a family mausoleum by the Daltons of Thurnham Hall during the 18th and 19th centuries. 
The chapter house is a Grade I listed building and Scheduled Ancient Monument.

The Isle of Man Packet approaching Heysham

The walk offered terrific photo opportunities but our attempt to get up very close to the Abbey was thwarted by a herd of cows and a particularly menacing Hereford bull, which kept making a similar noise to that last heard by us, being emitted by a large male lion, while on a safari in the South Luangwa Reserve in Zambia!

The closest we got to the Abbey was with my telephoto lens!

My wife beat me back to a gated section of the track, that offered protection from this marauding beast, should it have decided to attack!

Lighthouse marking entrance to the Lune Channel and Glasson Dock

The beast that upset my wife

With table and chairs set up we settled down, enjoying the view, when the cry came from the direction of the car, "Your car is it? Do you mind if I have a look?", not at all, I said, raising myself and walking over, prepared to launch into a history of the Morgan Motor Company. This turned out to be absolutely essential, as the man's ignorance was profound, and his first utterance as I reached the car, I have used as a title for this little offering!

Picnic time
Not only that, his dogs, unleashed, proceeded, much to the mounting chagrin of my dearly beloved, to make a bee-line for our sandwiches and the delicious pies that she had placed on the table! With lightening reactions she recovered them to the safety of her bag, although in doing so, some of the still fluid juice out of those scrumptious pies had leaked out.

Lapwing in flight


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