Well, I am back and recovering. Not from travelling but from the hacking in my throat that I caught from a couple little kids walking by me on a train last Saturday in Ireland, and from an extremely swollen and inflamed finger triggered by full Irish Breakfasts even thought I knew better and cut back. Time to tackle the root problem. Wednesday I spent the day helping Barbara start moving her warehouse for Costume Ladies, and we were to continue on Friday. Sarah and I got about an hour moving in Friday morning (well, my van is full of costumes and heads still) but Barbara got busy in the shop, and our work was over for the day. So, with absolutely no book orders what should I do?
I have wanted to spend time outside with flowers and a small vegetable garden, but have not felt like starting again since Cathy died. Last year I put it off since most of July I was in Italy with the kids, but I have had a sign on my desk for many decades, “The Best Way to Get Something Done is To Begin.” Time to begin, let me go and buy some flowers and vegetables. “But, Ray,” I said, “it is Friday, and Fridays are always fun and frantic at Sports Car Services.” So off Black Beauty and I went over the hills to West West in VT. Yes, it was hectic as they were finishing up a customer’s MGTF to take to the Berkshire British Car Festival in Lenox, Massachusetts to try to sell on Saturday. “Why don’t you go with us,” Butch asked. Last year I had registered for the weekend but cancelled when I decided to stay and work on our production of IF I WERE BRITISH, plus I am not really a “hang around” a car show field all day person, but I was tempted as I would be with friends – isn’t that what it is all about. Then John told me, “this customer has an MGA too for sale, and it will be a bargain.” We went up to the dairy barn to look. A nice “driver” and my eyes perked up. My dad bought an MGA for Shirley when they married and I enjoyed driving it one summer while home from college. I have been looking for another Model A having sold my roadster thinking I could not drive two cars at once, but I was wrong. But, an MGA is not as impractical for a second (or third) car than a Model A – that is called rationalization, plus the MGA’s price is what I paid for Black Beauty before pampering her with lots of money. I will shorten the ensuing conversations summing up that David has given me “right of first refusal” once they get the car ready to go for the customer. Both the MGTF and MGA were laid up in 1995, but Patrick got the MGTF started right up and then John rebuilt the brake system (something to do after 18 years of sitting). So, who knows, maybe in a few weeks we will have a naming contest for Black Beauty’s garage mate.
On the way home I have three options to look at flowers/veggies but realized I should talk with Jason at Harlow’s having known him and his expertise for 10 years. Jason set me straight, and I have started my work gardening outside the porch for Ray’s full enjoyment. My plan is to remove the fountain (David and Mari would like it, and we found the right spot Monday night) and put two small raised beds in the space and a small pool with my large cast iron frog spitting water into it. Friday night I planned it out, figured how I would make the beds with cobblestones, but then said, “Ray, make your life simple to start, buy some raised bed kits.” (another Rayism – “If you created the pressure, you can also eliminate it). Quick check on HomeDepot.com came up with the perfect solution for $35 each, but Keene was out of stock, however 16 were in Greenfield, Massachusetts. No problem, I can get them Saturday evening on the way back from Lenox.
I met Butch (in an Austin-Healy 3000) and another couple in an MGB (both cars no fun due to roll up windows – MGA still has side curtains) at 8 AM in Putney, Vermont, and we travelled over Vermont backroads to North Adams, Massachusetts over Route 2 to Williamsburg, and then down Route 7 (remember my favorite road in the USA – except for the section through Pittsfield) to arrive in Lenox. I am assuming you have your Vermont and Massachusetts maps out now, more likely you will have these than a road map of Ireland). We arrived at the show on the grounds of Shakespeare & Company in Lenox
which is a lovely venue for a car show. I grabbed a quick sandwich and toured around the cars. Now when I went to shows with my Dad, usually the cut-off was 1930 with nothing newer, so it is very hard for me to adjust, but I enjoyed looking around. To be truthful I spent most of my time with the MGAs talking with one owner at length.
The rest of my time I sat in the shade at David’s booth visiting with his friends and watching the world go by. I enjoyed myself, but it was being with them that made it enjoyable. In conversation they mentioned one car on the field that cost 1.5 million
dollars, and let me share what I learned. The owner, Mike Kittredge, has over 100 cars and a staff to maintain them. He had maybe twenty cars on the field, mostly newer things, but I learned the connection. A few months ago I was shunpiking in Massachusetts and stumbled into Kringle Candle Company in Bernardston in a lovely location. I did not stop, but made a mental note. Ends up that in 1998 Kittredge sold Yankee Candle, and that now explains why the attached car museum was no longer at the flagship store which Cathy and I visited even before moving to NH. Mike’s son Mick for a 2009 college marketing course created some candles, and soon he and his father started Kringle Candle which has several nice buildings and a restaurant. It is in an area where I like daytripping, so I look forward to going to the restaurant in an 1800 farm house.
Well, that is one of the “need to know” facts you get from me.
Butch and I headed back up Route 7, and then cut across Route 2, The Mohawk Trail, to Greenfield. By the way, The Mohawk Trail is the first scenic road in the country and another of my favorites and a pleasant sports car backroad. I got two raised bed kits in Greenfield, we hopped on I-91, and I left Butch in the dust. Still without a working speedometer I was taught a simple calculation for what my speed in overdrive is roughly based on RPMs, and I cruised comfortably at 72 MPH on this great section of Interstate. Great because there is usually no traffic and you have it to yourself (except out of nowhere some New York idiot passed us doing at least 120 MPH – glad he saw us). I got home shortly after 7 PM
I am waiting to hear from Barbara to move more costumes, have lots of paperwork to tackle, and will continue to enjoy this Sunday on my porch working and writing. As always, yours, RAY
Hi Ray and Welcome Home. What a fun day you had. Ironically, I have been wanting a raised garden bed and my son and grandson promised me one last year. Did NOT happen so when I saw your great buy I hopped over to the Home Depot website. Unfortunately, what I want is $200 – $300. So, back to the drawing board. We have had one of the coldest springs so I can not get too enthuised with the outside and the state bird is so hungry this year. (mosquito, not state bird but should be). My oldest son and daughter in law are at car shows all the time. They need to add on a room for the trophies for their 67 & 68 Cameros. Enjoy and talk soon.
Michael Kittredge has a house on Nantucket! We’ve also seen his yacht (Paraffin) in the harbor, and he’s had some great old cars in the Daffodil Day parade out here. Small world 🙂