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Homepage. This page: Strange things sometimes happen while sleeping in the back of an old Ford Transit at Beaulieu Autojumble.
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A strange discovery in the back of a Ford Transit.

I'm not sure which is more odd, the discovery of this article lying in the back of the Ford Transit I was preparing to have a kip in, or that I've kept the aforementioned page all this time since.
For a couple of years in the early 1990s I tagged along with some friends of mine to the Beaulieu Autojumble. One year I slept in a tent, wedged between a parked car and a fence, hiding from the security bods who took a dim view on such activities. Heavy rain, and the resulting sodden sleeping bag, reinforced my dislike of roughing it in this way so plans were hatched for better accomodation on the next visit, in 1994. This year much more inviting, and importantly dry, accommodation was lined up. Yes, this time I'd be able to grab some shut-eye nestled in the back of a stallholder's Ford Transit van. Compared to a leaky tent, the bone dry load bay of a Transit seemed like The Dorchester by comparison.
The Saturday (or was it Friday?) evening was spent in good company, where one (or more) beverages were appreciated until the time came to retire for the night. Fortunately the Transit had a working interior light, so in I clambered, sleeping bag under one arm, and a change of clothes under the other. Again I suspect this was in contravention of some ruling or other, but so long as I remained out of sight in the back of the van, I should be ok.
As I began to unpack the sleeping bag, my eyes fell on a page from a popular classic car magazine, lying on the floor. I no longer remember whether the entire magazine was there, open at the page, or if it was just the one, torn from "On my own patch", a section that featured photos of decaying lumps of once-magnificent metal in hedgerows, scrapyards, and buried axle-deep in fields across the globe. Bending down to chuck the paper(s) into a distant corner of the Transit's load area, a strange feeling of familiarity crept over me as my bleary eyes focused on the facing page.
Strange coincidence at the Beaulieu Autojumble
A few years earlier, while away on a caravanning holiday with my folks, we'd popped in to see my Great Uncle's abode hidden away in mid-Wales. Somewhat overgrown, his place wasn't the easiest to spot even as you drove by. However the presence of three crumbling British classics on the grass verge soon confirmed that we'd arrived at the right location. The three gems were, in order, a Mk2 Austin A40 Farina, a Morris Oxford van of the 1950s, and a rare two-tone Morris Oxford Series IV estate. None of them was in particularly fine fettle, although if this was now I'd probably be making a bid to rescue at least a couple of them. However at the time I was still living at home, and the prospect of yet more rust-ridden relics arriving on my parents' driveway would no doubt have led them to buying me a one-way ticket to somewhere else, and a phonecall to the nearest scrapman.
Photographs taken of the vehicles (they're around here somewhere), we left the scene and I thought no more of these fading British machines. That was until 1994, when, in the back of a Transit preparing to sleep for the night, the same three vehicles stared up at me from a random (or was it?) page from a magazine, left behind presumably by the owners of the van while unloading their autojumble stock.
How did this page end up down there? The magazine was already several months old by the time of the Beaulieu Autojumble, and the odds of this mag, open at the relevant page that happened to feature - face up - three vehicles that belonged to my Great Uncle, are incalculable.
I've kept the page torn from the magazine ever since, and it still makes me wonder how and why it happened to be there. Coincidence?
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