Organised with almost military precision by Alison Johnson and blessed with unseasonably mild and sunny weather, the Rutland Gathering notched up another success for clan Costello.
Rutland is Britain's smallest county and the well-planned route enabled us to see and admire much of it as we circled Rutland Water, a man-made reservoir built in the seventies to serve half a million people in the East Midlands. Proceedings started for most attendees with a relaxing cruise on the Rutland Belle. Relatively modern it may be, but the reservoir looks as if it has always been there, nestled among the warm sandstone villages where we stopped from time to time to meet up and chat or to have afternoon tea. A convivial evening meal was enjoyed at the Coach House Inn at South Luffenham.
The next day saw us off again through more of Rutland and parts of rural Leicestershire and Northamptonshire, guided by Alison's inch-thick information pack. The roads were scenic, though not particularly demanding - which suited to a tee the relaxed atmosphere of the event. We eventually parted company after Sunday lunch at the orangery in the Elizabethan splendour of Burghley house near Stamford, each equipped with a Costello goodie bag containing delicious chocolates and a commemorative plaque provided by Andrew and Alison and colour co-ordinated Costello caps courtesy of Richard Fairclough.
Those present were:
Andrew and Alison Johnson, Laurie and Pat Way, Roger and Gay Anderson, Richard and Liz Fairclough, David & Wendy Wiggins, Harry and Janet Irvine, Roger Cook & Vince Harding, Lambiek Engelaar & Bas Langenhof.
Roger had been let down once again by the specialists entrusted with sorting out his perpetually temperamental engine management system, so in the absence of his 5-litre GT and also of Lawrence Wood, Roger and Vince Harding shared Lawrence's roadster. Both pronounced it an impressive drive and travelled most of the time with the top down.
Lambiek Engelaar and Bas Langenhof travelled over from Katwijk in Holland with Biek's recently-purchased former racer, now in the process of being fettled for the road. Apart from a slow puncture suffered by David Wiggins, the only reliability problem was experienced by Biek, whose ignition unaccountably died on the way to the boat trip and defied the ministrations of Laurie Way to revive it. Equally unaccountably, after his return from the Rutland Belle, Biek's beast started without a stutter and fortunately remained trouble-free for the rest of the trip.