At the weekend we attended our first steam rally in 2 years, this was also the last rally we attended back in 2019.
Balls Cross is a small charity event that is held over the first weekend of September each year, we have attended this rally for a few years and it gets better and better each year.
We roaded over to the event from Hollycombe in Liphook on the Monday before. We had attended Hollycombe on the Sunday to pull one of their trailer rides for the day, and had a great day there and hoping to return later this month. We started early on the Monday morning as it was going to be quite a day on the road, we hitched up the living van and trailer and filled up Victoria with water, coal and off we went. We had a good trip, quite busy on the road as is was a bank holiday Monday, but we were soon at our first water stop. Then off to towards Midhurst and then stop just near Cowdray for lunch, Wendy made hot dogs in the living van, yum! We then set off again towards Petworth and out on the Northchapel road and then a right turn towards Balls Cross. Got to the rally in about 5 hours and all safely set up at the top of the field. We would return on the following Friday to enjoy our weekend.
Friday morning we packed the car and Jack got his tractor and trailer ready for the trip over to Balls Cross, he had a trailer full of old lawn mowers too, just for the fun of it. We arrived at the rally and chatted to a few friends before we decided we had better set up our camp, one problem, we had forgotten the keys to the wagon and Victoria’s toolbox!!! So, back home we went. Keys collected and we got back to the field to set up camp.
By late afternoon we were ready to enjoy tea and the evening, the field was filling up with exhibits and it was nice to see friends who we hadn’t seen for 2 years. We had a lovely tea, a glass of wine and chatted with friends through the evening.
Saturday morning and up, clean Victoria and steam her up, the field was full of exhibits, cars, tractors, a large line of stationary engines, a good selection of commercials and a few military vehicles. In the steam corner there were 4 full size engines and good handful of miniatures. Full size included us with Victoria, another Marshall “General Scrumpy”, the Russell’s Foden Wagon and on the threshing machine and baler was Peter Mellersh’s Burrell “Surprise.” It was a good day, seemed to be busy with the public and everyone seem to be in good spirits and just enjoying what felt like a normal rally.
With Victoria steamed up she was taken round the field for a chuff, many of the SOP crew having a go round. In the afternoon Peter Fagg (Victoria’s previous owner) appeared, lovely to have a catch up with him and of course he took Victoria for a chuff round the field – always nice to see Peter back on Victoria. Before too long the day was coming to an end for the rally and tea was looming, tonight was a curry with all the trimmings, the evening was spent playing with Victoria and then chatting over a bottle of beer, we had had a great day.
Sunday, again up, cleaning and steaming up Victoria before much of the same as Saturday, the car park was packed by mid-morning and the rally field was buzzing with lots of friendly faces, and people enjoying themselves. Victoria enjoyed lots of chuffing around the field, some of the SOP crew even had ago around the field in the Russell’s Foden, thanks to Jamie for taking us around for a trip. Friends and family kept coming for a chat and all in all it was a great day but before too long it was time to start packing up. The trailer was taken to the water point where we filled up our water tank ready for the journey home at a later date. The gazebo was taken down, the wagon was packed away and that was it. We moved Victoria, living and now a very heavy trailer to her resting place for the next week, said goodbye to our friends and off home we went.
This was the best weekend we could of wished for, the organisers are just the best, they put on a great show and let us as exhibitors just get on with it. The weather was great, a little overcast on Saturday but Sunday was hot. It was lovely to see some many friends and catch up with them all, the rally field seemed to be just buzzing with fun and a happy feeling, it was great to be back.
A big thank you must go out to the organisers Tony and Sylvia who put on this fantastic event and raise thousands of pounds for Macmillan every year.
Thanks Balls Cross you have been a blast and we will see you in 2022.