Friday 24th June dawned fine, warm and clear and we were looking forward to an enjoyable trip on Victoria to Kingsley, 10 miles up the road, where we were to exhibit at the C.S.V.A.C. steam and vintage rally, an event that we had not attended before. The engine was looking particularly smart as we had spent the previous weekend cleaning and polishing ready for her Kingsley debut but as steam was being raised storm clouds were quite literally gathering on the horizon.
At about midday, our usual time of departure, the sound of distant thunder could be heard and the first drops of rain were in the air. We had just moved the engine and living wagon onto the road ready to set off but, discretion being the better part of valour, we decided to have lunch and hope that this was a passing shower. At just after 1 o’clock the sun returned and we finally left Liss half an hour later. It is quite difficult to drive a traction engine with crossed fingers but we thought that it might help us to complete the journey without getting soaked.
Victoria, being the remarkable machine that she is, performed wonderfully and we were soon well on our way, the only irritation coming from the smoke generated by some rather poor coal given to us at a recent rally, in fact at one point the village we had just passed through was almost enveloped in an unnatural cloudbank!
Kingsley was 10 miles away and we had estimated that it would take us about an hour and a half to travel the distance. We were about right, the only stop being in Bordon to let an accumulation of traffic pass. With every mile the skies darkened, then, as we turned into the lane where the rally field was, the first drops of rain fell so that by the time we stopped in our parking spot it had become a downpour with thunder and lightening approaching at speed. We had been lucky and thanked Victoria’s guardian angel for saving us from sharing Dreadnought’s experience, the journey had been another good one and we were looking forward to the rally.