What a washout

My heart goes out to the organisers and the contributors to the classic car rally on Sunday.

After last year’s cancellation and the unusually good summer this year, hopes must have been high for settled weather and a large number of people through their gates.

When the weather got wetter and windier as the weekend wore on, it was obvious it was not to be!

I am usually there about 10.30am, living as I do only a mile and a bit away, but the stair-rod rain put me off, as it obviously did a lot of other people, who would have had to travel an awful lot further.

I eventually bowled up at just after 2pm when the weather cleared, to find more classic cars leaving than visitors arriving.

A family contact who was already inside informed me on the mobile phone that many vehicles hadn’t turned up or had left, and the stalls were sparse, probably as most had blown away the night before.

“Not worth paying the £8 to get in now,” I was told.

Being one who has an eye for a bargain I did ask at the gate whether, since it was so late in the day and so many exhibitors had either left or not turned up, was there an option of a reduction on the entry fee?

But was told, no. The willing volunteers from the Rotary didn’t have any authority or instructions to allow such practices, but I think even they recognised getting £4 or £5 out of me was better than nothing. So I turned round and walked home.

We are always at the mercy of the weather in the UK, especially in Scotland, so can I make some suggestions to the organising committee – don’t hold the show in September.

In these (allegedly) climate-change times, make it May, June or even July, where you may have the chance of warm rain instead of cold. In the past 13 years that I have been visiting the show I can only recall one completely rain free event.

Hold the show when both the English and Scottish schools are still on holiday.

Hold it to coincide with a high profile local event such as the Selkirk Common Riding, and open the rally on both Saturday and Sunday to everybody rather than restricting to a Sunday, and sell two-day entry tickets, so people can dip in and out as they see fit.

Tie in with other local visitor attractions in The Borders (e.g. Abbotsford House) and create week/weekend multi-venue passes.

What about family tickets as an option? In these straightened economic times families want to get value for money, but unless you can guarantee that they will spend at the show, where is the sense in letting children in for free?

Now that SBC is no longer contributing financially to the rally, and after this year’s unfortunate issue with the weather, I cannot see the rally carrying on unless there are some serious revisions made to when it is held and how it is administered.

I would dearly love to see it carry on. After all, it is the only car rally I have ever been able to attend which I can walk to in under 30 minutes.

So here’s hoping to a June 2014 rally!

Steve Bonner