Glen Ibbotson has been a Tealer for some twenty years, owning both two-seater and four-seater Teals, and driving with his wife Maggie with verve and enthusiasm to new adventures all over Europe and Great Britain, as will become evident from these Teal tales.
Glen is a frequent and highly-amusing contributor to our Teal Club magazine, Teal Spiel; he has kindly agreed that some of his thoughts be displayed on our website. More will be added as the months proceed. Oh, and Glen's four-seater, as many will know, is called 'Captain Sensible', as is he.
Glen and Maggie
Captain Sensible, Glen and Maggie lead the way.
Glen Ibbotson's Sensible Thoughts' Extract 1 ( From Teal Spiel, August 2010):
Why do grown men, who should know better, get a thrill out of whizzing around in impractical machines? Cold, windy and wet or hot, windy and dry. Take your pick. I suppose if you need to ask you will never understand and if you understand you will never need to ask. How does one define Tealitus? An irrational love for something anachronistic perhaps? Imagine a fine day with the open road in front of you. A silly grin plastered across your shot blasted face, the warm wind ruffling what little is left of your hair. The comforting burble of the exhaust and the insects ricocheting off your windscreen and head. The envious looks on the faces of mere mortals trapped inside their modern boxes on wheels, unable to sense, to smell, to feel the exciting world outside. The smug pitying looks on the faces of the same mortals as they watch you shiver, wretched and drowned in an unexpected downpour struggling to find the damned waterproofs which always manage to wedge themselves in the most awkward place to reach, while they sit warm and tight and dry imbibing the soothing sounds of their ultra high-tech sound system.
Why do we do it? Why climb mountains, why go to the Poles, why sail the oceans, why listen to rap music! I'm not suggesting that Tealers are explorers and mountaineers. Far from it. We're a pretty normal bunch really but we must all have something inside that is triggered by the glories of the past. The Tealers I have met over the last twenty years have had very different backgrounds but all share the common bond of the Teal. It's why we all get along so well. Our uniqueness makes us the same. It's said that little girls grow into women and little boys into big boys. I believe this to be absolutely true. I will readily admit that I have never grown up. If I see a rope swing in a tree I'm on it in a flash and usually fall off even faster. If I see a stream I'll build a dam. If it snows I'll get out the sledge. If it's windy I'll fly a kite. Children and grandchildren are just an excuse for men to carry on being kids. Luckily I need no excuse and the Teal is really just a big toy. But what a toy.
How many new friends, new places and new adventures has it introduced me to. My memory is replete with the events of the last twenty years. Some mixed up, some with bits missing and some plain wrong but all to be treasured. Madness and mayhem, mountains and rivers, valleys and seas. Heat and cold, wet and dry, misery and fear, fear and excitement, laughter and sadness. From the high passes of the Alps, the Pyrenees and the Picos d'Europa with the snow still thick even at the end of May to the stupendous rivers and majestic cliffs of the Gorges Du Tarn in South East France, from the thunderstorms of Switzerland and the Italian lakes to the wind blasted oven heat of the Zaragoza desert. From the magnificent views over Berchtesgarden in Bavaria to the historic beauty of Prague. From the steep banks of the Rhine to the tranquil Seine and the Chateaux of the Loire. From the now peaceful beaches of Normandy to the haunting landscape of the Somme. From the finest accommodation to the simple rooms of kind people. From sumptuous banquets to makeshift picnics with only the sound of the wind and a camp kettle to disturb us. From the opulence of Monaco and the Riviera to the simple hospitality of a remote inn. From the roar of racing Bugattis at Angouleme to the silent magnificence of the Schlumpf Museum. From the warm honey coloured glow of Toledo at sunset to the cool silver light of Dover at dawn. From rugged Scottish mountains to sea sprayed Cornish cliffs.
My car has brought me all these things and more. What price could be put on the life enhancing qualities of a regular dose of Teal?
A TEALER'S TALE FOR THOSE WHO'VE BEEN THERE
(From March 2010 Teal Spiel):
Wheels fast turning, bright sun burning
chasing the evening light.
Dusty Faces, unknown places,
where will we be tonight?
A likely place perhaps there's space
for a weary traveller to stay.
A shake of the head, not enough beds,
best be on our way.
On the road once again the day drawing in
strong hands gripping the wheel.
Engines purring, pulses stirring,
long shadows pacing the Teal.
There's a sign on the left, perhaps some room left,
we switch off the engines and wait.
A welcoming smile, we've gone our last mile
give thanks to the goddess of fate.
A shower and fresh clothes, a tall glass and a toast
taken with tonic and gin.
Here's to the crew, the intrepid few
the ones who refuse to give in.
For what is a man if idly he stands
watching his life pass him by.
I'd rather choose to win, draw or lose,
it's better than never to try.
Captain Sensible, bard (from most places)
(Both the Teal and Glen are referred to within the Teal Owners' Club as Captain Sensible - man and machine fused into one....)
In his Sensible Thoughts article in the February 2009 Issue of Teal Spiel, Glen recalls some happy Teal adventures in Spain, France and Germany:
" On many trips, finding a room was always the final challenge at the end of a long day, but for years it was pot luck as to what we got. In general we were very lucky and had the good fortune to stay in some wonderful places. Here are a few examples:
The hotel we found in Vittugudino in North West Spain was actually closed but the owners took pity on our poor, exhausted, dust-covered souls and opened it up. After dinner that evening we learned of the history of the region and its fighting bulls. The man of the house was an ex-matador, the son was in training and behind the hotel was a practice bull ring where next day we were invited to have a go with the training bull. Next morning saw eight cars parked in a semi-circle within the ring, apprehension on the faces of assorted Tealers. Suddenly the gates opened and in rushed a man with a one wheeled cart with horns on the front. Collapse of all concerned into hysterics. Everyone had a go at being a matador, the Lord Mayor made a speech, photos were taken, sausage and wine taken on board and then we were off waving farewells. Proud, friendly, warm, generous people, The Teal has introduced us to so many over the years.
At another hotel in Spain, once part of an adjacent monastery, the owners insisted we park the cars in the dining room overnight for safe keeping. Another lucky find was the hotel in Northern Spain, near Santander, where we had the most amazing fish soup and house wine that must have been fermented in a shoe. Still it tasted fine and was very potent. I have photographs of a very happy Cliff Sedman stuck in the gap between his bed and the wall to prove it. We called again to renew acquaintances a couple of years later but the hotel had been demolished to make for a motorway. Progress!
Was it in 1990 that we had an impromptu campsite BBQ and singalong in Fréjus, South of France, followed by sore heads next morning? Ben Trumble was the colour of old National Health service waiting rooms, a sort of bilious green. Still, by lunchtime we'd all recovered enough to gatecrash a local car show and everyone was lovely to us.
We always carried camping equipment, just in case, but in later years we never had to use it. Once or twice as the evening was drawing on we thought we'd be in a field under canvas but we always found somewhere to rest our heads. Some of these places though are best forgotten. The shabby hotel in the Gorges du Tarn springs to mind. We had had a wonderful day touring and started looking for rooms about late afternoon. What we didn't know was that it was a national holiday in France and everywhere was either full or closed. Everywhere except one place. I suspect that during Bonaparte's triumphs it may have been very pleasant but it was evident that it had not seen a paintbrush since Waterloo. Le Patron standing behind the fly specked bar appeared to be the elder brother of Spike Milligan and the staff obviously too closely related to be healthy. But any port in a storm. We all survived and things always seem funny afterwards.
I think it was in Bavaria in 1992 that we last pitched tents on a trip. I remember standing by a stunning lake just below Berchtesgaden, Hitler's mountain retreat, watching Kit Wallis, who always reminded me of an absent minded Q from the James Bond films, trying to erect his tent. The problem was that he'd obviously brought the wrong poles. When he was finished no part of the tent touched the ground, the poles being two inches too long. At least he had plenty of ventilation. It was also on this campsite that Compo found his car totally surrounded by newly erected tents with n o means of escape.
The wonderful, strange places our Teals have taken us. The dichotemy of Lourdes with its awful, tawdry tackiness during the day and its wonderful glowing testimony to faith at night. The sheer, wonderful good fortune to find ourselves in the Pyrennean town of Ribes de Fresca on the day of the witches' fiesta. We gave all the local children rides in the cars, joined in the procession, and then danced all night in the square with Cliff dressed as Dracula attempting to bite the necks of the comely wenches. Appropriately enough we stayed in the hotel Prats - say no more! - which had a fast flowing river alongside from which they bottled the water for sale all over Europe. After a pleasant dinner we asked the owner what we had eaten. Blank looks. We made noises - a cow, a sheep, a pig. No use. Then El Hefé the boss, had a brainwave. He looked at us and said 'BAMBI'. Oh what guilt. We had eaten Bambi.
I could go on for pages but that would be asking too much of your kind nature, dear reader. Suffice it to say that there will be more meanderings in the next magazine for your perusal and hopefully amusement. Be kind to yourselves and eachother and make the effort to come to some events next year.
Dont forget: Old age comes quickest to those who sit waiting for it. "
(Photos from George Rainsford, now living in France,still with Teal - thank you, George)
Tealers, Spain, Sept 98: Colin Andrews, George Rainsford, Cliff Sedman, all suffering from Teal nose (a long day at the wheel, blasting into the southern sun with the wind straight in your face and no windscreen usually does the trick; and a bottle or two of wine can help ).
In the July 2009 issue of Teal Spiel, Glen wrote:
"...I have remembered some more little anecdotes that I hope will bring back some happy memories and perhaps a smile.
I think it was in 1990 in France that Kit Wallace rear-ended Jack Hilton's shiny new car at a T junction. I remember a very disgruntled Jack trying to straighten things out with a rubber hammer.
Speaking of Kit Wallace, I think that it was on the 1994 Euro Trip that both his front mudguards fell off and spend the remainder of the tour tied on top of the rear ones. I think it was in 1990 that the borrowed car I was sharing with an itinerant carpet fitter nick-named 'Baldrick' stuffed the back of a Jaguar in torrential rain in heavy traffic in Locarno. There appeared to be no damage, but ten miles further on with an overheating engine and squealing tyres we realised the electric fan had fallen off and the tracking was all knocked out. The rain that day was monumental. By the time we made it back to our hotel the colour had run out of my shirt and I spent hours in the shower trying to scrub blue dye from my chest. Compo soon sorted out the car's tracking using a piece of string and a spanner and the Rover dealer in Stressa ordered a new fan to be fitted the following day. The rest of the party headed off to Switzerland and a day behind we tried to catch them up not knowing where they would be. By sheer good fortune we found them in a traffic queue outside Basle.
Going back to Kit Wallace, I can't remember on what occasion his engine fell out or at which event his steering broke, causing both wheels to point inwards. I know from many conversations witth Kit over the years that he had a penchant for explosives and as a young man in the forces had cause to use them and not always on the enemy. He told me his ' experiments ' had once blown his mother out of the kitchen and partially demolished a barracks. Luckily the Teal club was spared his attentions in that direction.
Kit wasn't the only Tealer with mudguard trouble. In 1993 George Rainsford's near side supports sheared and we could not find any bolts long enough to fix it. He tried to hold it in place with bungee elastics but even with his son Stewart trying to hold it down it flapped up and down like the wing of a demented seagull.
George Rainsford's mudguards fixed, and now living near Limoges
On what trip, as the result of my schoolboy French, did I get to order and then eat sheep's brains, an acquired taste, and when did Cliff, dressed like a sort of panto Scotsman, charm the female owner of a restaurant so much that she wouldn't let us pay for the meal?
Was it the same year that crossing the ridge of a mountain, in high winds, my side screen was ripped out and blown to who knows where. Gone forever.
How many well-earned G&Ts at day's end. How many good meals and bottles of wine shared amidst wonderous tall tales of Tealers told, only getting better with each telling. Balmy and even barmy summer days. Cliff dressed as Prince John riding an old bike to the joust at Runnymede while we rolled around in hystterics. Picnics at Prescott and Shuttleworth and the New Forest. Pouring rain in the Cotswolds, snow in Scotland in July.
Some of the best and happiest times of my life have been brought about by these lovely cars and I can not immagine the last twenty years without the memories and lasting friendships that have been created.
I like to think that 'we don't drive to make good time but we drive to have a good time!'
May all of us have a good time this year. Capt'n Sensible
Tealers in the Pyrenees: Colin, Glen, George
hospitality, trophies and a glass or two - Tealers at the long day's end...
After leading a dozen Teals round Chester and North Wales last month (July 2011), Glen and Maggie are guiding a team of Tealers to Normandy and beyond next month. Glen only paused to let me have 'A Tealer's Ode', which has also been published in Teal Spiel. Here the pome be:
A Tealer's Ode
Lord I'm well past 60, lots of things don't work
Don't let me wet my trousers or dribble down my shirt
Oh, don't let me forget when I walk into a room
Just what it is I've gone there for - I hope I remember soon
If not I'll have to start again, I've this old brain to thank
I'll stand and think, then sit and think, no good my mind's a blank
The older I get the better I was or so it would appear
I wonder why I make a sigh when rising from a chair
It's hard to believe that 5 bob a gallon is all we used to pay
No cameras or cones or traffic-free zones, not a roadworks in sight all day
Why are we in such a hurry, greedy for things we don't need
For in the words of Mahatma Ghandi "There's more to life than increasing its speed"
Maybe that's the attraction, maybe that's the appeal, for old fashioned cars that make people smile
That make people wish for just a short while, that they could abandon the comfort
Of computerised boxes on wheels, feel the sun on their faces, the wind in their hair
Just like the heaven-blessed owners of Teals.
Sir Glen Betjamin Sensible
Tealer to Royalty, The Prince of Wales, The Duke of Yoork and other pubs.
Thanks, Glen - enjoy Normandy with the five Teals - more to come...
Winters greys may bring the blues,
with darkening skies of leaden hues,
and biting winds and frosty toes,
bleary eyes and reddened nose
but hope retains it's flickering ember,
as we struggle through November,
and Christmas gives us hope once more,
o make it to the springtime thaw,
when garage doors we open wide,
and gaze upon what waits inside,
Once again our souls unite,
and fingers stroke the paintwork bright,
The heady scent of oil and leather,
grease and petrol mixed together,
From wistful dreams our memories picking,
cooling engines gently ticking,
thoughts of happy sun bright days,
the slanting light of evenings haze,
the scent of new mown grass and flowers,
dews light sheen in the early hours,
the happy smiles on childrens faces,
the winding road to distant places,
these are gifts beyond our measure,
stored forever to keep and treasure,
for no machine of modern steel,
could thrill the soul and make us feel,
the way we do about our Teal
Some thoughts of Glen's from the December 2012 Teal Spiel
"...I already have plans to revive the Whitby Weekend,which was for ten years a very popular event. Since giving it a rest three years ago I have been repeatedly asked if I might do it again. Well as Whitby is one of my favourite places in all the world I haven't taken much persuading. It is gratifying that so many Tealers from the South take the trouble to make the long journey to North Yorkshire to help make this event so successful. I am deeply touched (but you know that anyway). I really hope that some more of the Southern exiles may take a chance on travelling north of Watford next year.
I absolutely guarantee that outside the mountains of Scotland and Wales the North Yorkshire Dales, moors and coast offer the most varied and beautiful scenery anywhere. Add the warmth and hospitality of the locals and the much less busy roads and you have all the makings of a fantastic experience. As usual we will probably be going at the beginning of July but nothing is yet definite.
Despite a temporary dip in membership a few years ago we are now, thanks in large part to Brian's superb website, attracting new members from all over the world. The club magazine, under the guidance of Andy 'The Enfocer' Dutton and glamourous granny Suzi goes from strength to strength. It's come a long way from the few fledgling pages put out by Suzi's dad, John, a quarter of a century ago.
Many of those original Teal members are still with us but, alas, some aren't. Some, through illness or age no longer have or use their cars. Some have passed away. I am so grateful that I had the privelege of knowing and sharing most of the adventures of most of the 'characters' who are no longer active in the club. As a young shaver of forty I used to look with awe and respect at the 'old timers'. What a sobering thought to think that now the old timer is ME.
Speaking of which have you noticed that it gets harder to get your leg over, in more ways than one, as you get older. I'm certain that while my car is resting over the winter some evil swine of a welder comes and breaks into my garage just to raise the sides of the cockpit by about an inch. This chap must be very industrious because, apparently, he also visits every other Tealer in the country. I am seriously considering the possibility of having a door fitted. But only on my side. Mrs S. is as sprightly as ever, and leaps into the car at every opportunity, usually from a distance of six feet or more.
I think it's since she started the Tealettes dance group. All that lap dancing has restored a measure of suppleness to her body missing since she gave up the heavy manual labour job for the council to concentrate on bringing up our children and assorted pets.
I hope you won't mind my repeating something I said some years ago about Teals and Tealers and how, even though we may not use the cars as much as once we did, our feelings have changed little.
Taking my car out is a bit like walking up a favourite hill. As I get older I may not climb it as often and I may go a little slower but when I reach the top the view is as beautiful as ever. I think that half the fun of owning a Teal is the joy it seems to bring to others, young and old alike. I like to think that my speedo is calibrated in smiles per hour.
A little birdy says that in view of the success of this year's pre-season get together there will be another one in April 2013. Location to be advised (Stop Press: possibly Premier Central Stratford-on-Avon Sat 20th - Sun 21st April 2013). If we survive beyond the 21st December may I wish you all a loving and peaceful Christmas. Of all the qualities that it is possible to possess being kind is one of the best. Please be kind, and hope to see you all soon.
Luv from the Northern Monkey. Captain Sensible, even more nearly retired.
Glen and Grandson enjoy a fine Bugatti at Longstone's Tyres
Glen and Maggie in Normandy
(in Captain Sensible)