Crossing the channel: An MG6 on the continent Part One

Words and pictures: Simon Davies

IMG_0717MG6 owner Simon Davies headed across the channel for the Luxembourg to join the MG Car Club at the 2014 National Autojumble.

The story of the MG’s euro trip all began back in February when my wife Julie’s mum sadly passed away but because of the inevitable inquest and other issues, the funeral was held in early March.

We had booked a week’s holiday, planning a couple of days before the funeral to be with family getting everything sorted and then a few days away after the event to have a bit of a rest. As usual, the plan was there but nothing was finalised and nothing was booked other than time off work.

Just over a week before the funeral I called Martin Williamson to check details of times for a meeting and as a throw away at the end of the conversation he said “You don’t fancy a run to Luxembourg next weekend do you?’ so I asked for a bit more information, which went along the lines that the MGCC in Luxembourg are taking part in a show over there and want to put a timeline of vehicles together to represent every decade of MG cars. They had everything they wanted bar a modern MG from the current decade. They had approached MG Motors UK for the loan of a car, but had been refused on the grounds that it wasn’t part of the current advertising plan to take a car to Europe. MGCC Luxembourg had then approached the MG Car Club UK to see if they could help, and the call had gone out to the 635 Register for assistance.

It sounded interesting and would give us something to look forwards to after the funeral, so I spoke to Julie to see what she thought, made tentative enquires to ferry companies and hotels and worked out what else was involved. At this point, I wasn’t exactly sure where we were heading for or what we would be doing when we got there….but Luxembourg isn’t that big so let’s just do it! I had not previously been to Luxembourg and Julie had only been there as part of a European coach tour, so it would be a new experience for both of us.

The trip down was uneventful, we left Coventry early on Thursday morning to get to Dover around midday to catch a boat to Calais.

IMG_0705The crossing was calm, blue cloudless skies and a flat sea, who could ask for more! Once there we headed out of Calais towards Tournai which we had planned as an overnight stop as we were not expected in Luxembourg until late Friday afternoon. The MG6 satnav was spot on, it took us to a small family run hotel on the outskirts of Tournai with absolute accuracy, announcing “you have arrived” just as we pulled up outside the hotel. The owner was very friendly and helpful and although she didn’t speak a lot of English (why should she as we were in the middle of Belgium), we sorted things out, went up to our room, and unpacked. We headed into Tournai itself for our evening meal, Julie was unable to find the “moules and frites” she wanted but instead settled for a very satisfying steak.

After a good night’s sleep and breakfast it was back on the road towards Luxembourg, with a plan that we would eat in 3 different countries that day, breakfast in Belgium, lunch in Germany and evening meal in Luxembourg…it didn’t quite work out that was as we got sidetracked into a patisserie in Belgium around lunchtime!! A run through the hills and forests of the Ardennes and we were back on the road to Luxembourg. We arrived at the Luxexpo centre where the show was to be held and set about cleaning the car for the show. A good while later we were finished, it takes a lot longer to clean a 6 than it does for a TF!! and we went inside the exhibition hall.

The Club were still setting up the framework and lighting rigs so we wandered off to have a look around. It was not what I had thought we were coming to, having been described as an “AutoJumble” I had expected something a bit like Stoneleigh with traders and car clubs combining to show their wares. In reality, it was more like a major car show, with complex well built stands, flashing, moving lightshows, and excellent food and drink providers. Eventually at around 9.30pm the Club finished setting up the Stand, the timeline from the Abingdon Works Club, now printed onto about 120 sheets of A3 paper and carefully joined together, was on the wall, the lighting rig was set up, the cars in position, the fridge full of Specked Hen and wines was chilled, tables and chairs out…we were ready!

A pizza feast and party followed and we left about 11.00pm when security very politely suggested that they would like to lock up for the night! When we originally thought about undertaking the event, I had contacted Guy Maathuis, who had asked for a modern MG for the timeline to enquire about a hotel near the venue as we would not have a car for the weekend once our MG6 had been put onto the display stand. He said that we could stay at his home for the weekend and travel into the show each day with him, which we gratefully said thank you and accepted the invitation, so off we went with Guy to his home for the night, a drive of about 35 minutes away.

Next morning following breakfast we set off again with Guy to the Luxexpo Centre to the show. Inside the event, there was a lot more activity and some additional vehicles had arrived for the displays overnight, so a further walk round the show was required.

However, we did take the opportunity to leave the show and catch a bus into Luxembourg city centre where after walk around the city and a patisserie lunch once more we set off on the tourist bus tour to see the sights.

We had not realised that the tourist bus passes the Luxexpo centre, so we actually ended up doing a tour and a half, getting off back at the show the second time around!! The city had an antiques market in one of the main squares and a Nespresso boutique so both of us came away satisfied.

In part two, Simon recounts his time at the show…

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