In the 1970s there were two very kind MG enthusiasts, Gerhard and Helga Maier who opened their orchard in Hausach to MG owners from across the world. 1979 was the first of these events we were able to attend and various MG Car Club Centres across Europe hosted events in the week before so we had a great time on the way as well as at Hausach itself. The work involved, not only by Gerhard & Helga, but all the MG Car Club members who helped out was massive and it's a tribute to them all that the events went off largely without trouble.
As this was our first visit, I kept a dairy of sorts and this is what we did
Friday 13 July.
The 1956 MG ZA Magnette was fully loaded, our 4 month old daughter secured in her carry cot in the back seat, food in the rear footwells, camping gear on the roofrack and in the boot along with some tools & spares. We left home about 10.35, heading for a campsite near Harwich to overnight before catching the ferry the next day. Mileage reading was 89462.
We stopped for a lunch break at 1400, then about 1500 we got a puncture which held us up for 20 minutes. Another hours delay later whilst getting the punctured tyre repaired meant it was 18.00 by the time we made the campsite. Getting set up and fed took some time and we finally crashed into our sleeping bags at 22.00.
Saturday 14 July
Rose at 0700, and after a good breakfast we left the site at 9.30 and arrived at Harwick port at 10.00. We met up with the other members of the Tyne Tees Centre and set sail on the St Edmund at 12.00 and arrived at Hoek Van Holland at 1900 local time.
There is a large campstite near the Hoek, but it was full! We travelled quite some miles trying to find another site, with no luck. We eventually found a wide grass verge and set up camp, sharing tents to save time. Somebody found some fish & chips so after a good supper we finally made it to our sleeping bags about midnight.
Sunday 15 July
Up early, the picture above was taken before everybody else rose. I noticed a No Camping sign that we missed the night before oops! Thankfully we managed to sneak away before anybody knew we were there and we were on the road by 09.30.
We split up into smaller groups so it wasn't such a big convoy and we travelled with good friends Mike & Anne Ashman in their stunning 1955 MG TF. It was only later that we realised that the two oldest cars in the group were on their own.
We drove over the part of Spa circuit that is on public roads.
Driving through Malmedy we ended up in the middle of a festival. I've no idea what it was all about.
After a lunch break at 13.00 we eventually arrived at Camping Romantique in Luxembourg around 17.30. The Luxembourg Centre did us proud with a very tasty pig roast and once again it was midnight before we hit the sack.
Monday 16 July
A quiet day. The morning was spent chilling out at the campsite and in the afternoon we did some sightseeing in Luxembourg City.
A quiet evening rounded off a pleasant day.
Tuesday 17 July
A relaxed start to the day meant we didn't leave the campsite until 11.00. We had a slight delay shortly after leaving when the roof rack decided to part company with the car. I can't say who forgot to check the fastenings in case I incriminate myself. Thankfully there was little damage and we were soon on our way again over the mountains to the lovely Mosel Valley.
A short break for lunch near Trittenheim
Then on to Camping Juwel Ella for our next overnight stay. We all had a refreshing swim the the Mosel.
Wednesday 18 July
We stayed at Juwel Ella and had a sightseeing day in Koblenz. A beautiful place but sadly only one photo, a young lad playing chess.
Back to the campsite for food and another swim. The water was much colder this time.
Thursday 19 July
An early start to the day, up at 05.45 and off site by 08.45. We were heading for the Rhine Valley and had a choice of two routes. The first was into Koblenz down the Mosel side and back out again on the Rhine side. We thought this would be busy so we took the scenic route up the hillside and down the other side. There was a viewing area at the top of the hill.
The old Magnette had serious valve guide problems which was no trouble on the way up, but it was about a mile of steep road down the other side. Mike was behind us in the TF when we came to the junction at the bottom. I pulled out and Mike disappeared in a coud of blue smoke which didn't clear for about half a mile. The poor TF had an oily film all over it, which took an age to clean off.
The rest of the trip was uneventful, up the Rhine Valley with only a short stretch of autobahn running and we arrived at Hausach around 14.00.
Friday 20 July
A lazy day. got up late, went into Hausach for provisions, chucked a bucket of water over the car, wandered around looking at the cars. Evening entertainment in the marquee was bell ringing and Bavarian dancers. Great fun. If you recognise yourself in any of these pictures give me a shout.
Saturday 21 July
Driving tests this morning. Some devilishly worked out tasks ahead of us. More difficult than they looked. The soft top cars had an advantage and as the passenger side window had ceased to wind down, off came the door. We were still rubbish at it!
In the afternoon we took a trip out in the hills. Beautiful scenery.
The day was rounded off with a barbequeue and dance.
Sunday 22 July
The concours took place in the morning. Some super cars on display.
A navigational style treasure hunt was the order of the afternoon. Some lovely roads & villages but we were too busy trying not to get lost to take any pictures.
The weekend ended with the dinner and prize presentation in the evening. We didn't win any prizes but came away with something even better, great memories of a super time with friends.
Monday 23 July
The MG activities over, it was time to go. As we were relatively close to the Rhinefalls at Schaffhausen on the German Swiss border it seemed a shame not to see them so that's where we went. Mike & Anne had other plans so we were doing the return journey on our own
After leaving the Rhinefalls about 13.30 it was an uneventful journey to our next campsite at Rastadt.
Tuesday 24 July
Leaving Rastadt at 09.00 we travelled North once more. According to my notes we had a misfire and it took half an hour to sort it out so it wasn't a serious stoppage. We stopped in Koblenz around lunchtime for rations before rolling on to Koln. We stopped there longer than we should have done. We were parked on yellow lines but luckily Pam was feeding our daughter when the traffic warden came along. She was sympathetic but despite the language barrier she told us to be quick about moving. We got seriously lost and couldn't find the camp site we planned to stay at, so kept on moving, hoping to find one.
We were getting resigned to spending a night by the roadside when we found a site in Aachen, thankfully just before they closed the gates to new arrivals. We finally fell into our sleeping bags around 22.30, very tired after what was probably the most stressful day of the trip.
Wednesday 25 July
Left Aachen around 10.00 and headed for Hoek van Holland, and arrived without incident about half past three. The big campsite had spaces so we were in luck. We pitched up and met up with some of the other travellers on the way back.
The site had a restaurant so we had great pleasure in eating our first indoor meal for nearly a fortnight.
Thursday 26 July
We arrived at Hoek in plenty of time for our 11.15 sailing on the St. George. We left on time but were delayed by fog and another boat in our berth in Harwich. We found a camp site about 3 miles out of Harwich and settled in for the night after a pub meal.
Friday 27 July
We made a detour to visit friends we hadn't seen for a while and spent the day with them. We set off on the final leg of our journey home at 18.00 and arrived back just after midnight.
The car behaved itself well, with only a puncture and an easily fixed misfire causing unplanned stops. The mileage reading was 91388.
Total miles travelled - 1926 Fuel consumption approx 30mpg. Not bad for a fully loaded car. Oil consumption approx 60 miles per pint. I told you it had a serious valve guide problem
The 1979 trip was made with one young child who slept most of the time. This time with two young toddlers, life was more hectic and I didn't keep any notes, so this is from the memories brought to life from the pictures.
The original plan was to go in the TA. We'd already tested the feasbility earlier with a trip to Silverstone for the annual MG meeting which is now known as MG Live. It was slow but doable.
Sadly it was not to be. On the Saturday before our Friday sailing, the TA decided to become uncooperative and run on 3 cylinders. Inspection revealed that it was not going to be repairable in time for the trip. This was a major blow as the ferry crossings were paid for as was the cost of the Hausach weekend, so somehow we had to go. The ZA was in bits and nowhere near road ready. It was an MG meeting so I didn't want to take my wife's Austin A35. I knew of a 1957 ZB Magnette that the owner might be persuaded to sell so I got in touch and went to see the car on the Sunday.
He wanted more for it than I thought it was worth, but choices were limited to this or a lost holiday so I agreed the deal. On Monday I went to see Tonto's friend (the loan arranger) at the bank and got the cash, then off to pick up the car. In the few days before setting off I changed the plugs & points, oil & filter, fitted the child seats and took the towbar off the ZA & fitted it to the ZB.
Friday came and off we went to do close to 2000 continental miles in a car that I'd only owned for four days and driven less than 100 miles in.
The trip to Hausach must have been uneventful as I don't remember much about it and have no pictures. The Hausach weekend itself was great fun with driving tests. We were rubbish after taking the door off last time so this time we left it on and were still rubbish.
Great people having fun.
This year the Luxembourg Centre organised a day out at the Goodyear Circuit which is used for tyre testing. Everybody had a superb day and a good few laps of the circuit. As I was giving the Magnette some serious welly, it suddenly occurred to me that this car had to get us all back home again, so I took it a bit easier.
It wasn't a timed event so having a clean car didn't affect anything but my team of valeters did a fine job.
The only thing I remember about the trip home was developing a blowing exhaust which was fixed with a baked bean can, a couple of jubilee clips and some exhaust putty, a repair that was still good months later when the car met its end, but that's another story.
Sadly this was the last of the Hausach International Meetings. We only went to two, but we greatly enjoyed both.
One final shot of the full rig.
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