On 22 May we decided to take the Magnette to the Darlington Railway ‘Head Of Steam’ event at the North Road Museum as an alternative to the Fire Engine Rally at Preston Park.


We were lucky with the weather…..at least to begin with. Pulling the car out in the morning we saw Geoff & Kath and Mark & Mandy setting off for Preston Park and wondered should we be going that way too but a lovely although short run to Darlo down the back roads seemed just as good to us. It was only the second run out for the Mag since major surgery following a catastrophic breakdown last year. Well it seemed catastrophic at the time; the gearbox bearing collapsed and shattered the clutch causing us to say ‘Hello’ to the AA recovery man. With that behind us, off we went.


Head of Steam is an annual event. Very casual. You don’t have to book in, just turn up. There were about 70(ish) cars there ranging from a little 60s Fiat 500 to a 1929 Delage. Plus a few commercials. The museum itself is worth a visit with Locomotion on display plus other rolling stock and a model of the railway as it would have been in the early days. Also a lovely tea shop with a special ‘Vintage Vehicle Day’ menu.


We had the three Ss – Sun lotion, sandwiches and seats behind the car, plus a catch-up with friends and acquaintances we hadn’t seen since last year. It’s a good day out. I know these static events aren’t everyone’s cup of tea but for those who like a leisurely day just chatting and looking at interesting vehicles, Head of Steam isn’t a bad choice.


Towards the end of the day the temperature dropped a little then those ominous clouds began to appear. Then the rain. A few spots at first then a little more. Time to pack up and go we thought. Journeying back to Norton we joined Junction Road with a few light spots hitting the windscreen but the road was damp. They’d had more than we had!! Then it happened. Hailstones like bongies deafeningly bouncing off the car. A real cloudburst till we got home. Once the engine was turned off we realised there was thunder too. Why do so many days end up like this?


However, it was a good day.