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What a homecoming!

May 20, 2013

 

Of course we were set up! – but we thoroughly LOVED it!

 

Having returned to Johannesburg on Sunday 19th May after leaving JoLon Imp in England, my family and my travel buddy Geoff along with his family met me at the airport and it was arranged that we all retire to our house for a ‘cup of tea’. No problem, “but I am driving”, I quickly declared! To be able to drive a vehicle with considerably more that the 36 (or probably much less) horsepower of my ancient Imp had for the journey to London AND a vehicle with a fully operational REVERSE gear was quite a treat!

On to the highway. So far so good! Off the highway and into our suburb still fine. At the entrance to our neighbourhood I was surprised to see my old road Imp parked on the side of the street. Catherine, my wife, said, “ok here is where you get out, you and Geoff must drive the last kilometre to the house in your Imp.”

What a pleasant surprise; the engine that we now have in this ‘67 Imp has some decent poke and it sounds super sharp and I so looked forward to giving the rotoflexes something to consider! However my family had planned that we should return to whence we commenced similarly to how we arrived in Coventry – with a procession. Albeit a procession void of Hillman Imps but not to be undone, the Police car Imp that guided us through the Coventry roads was replaced with the security vehicle of our safety company Proforce and a small following of cars made up of my family in their pickup and Geoff’s car and one other vehicle. Sadly for me but fortunately for the rotoflexes the lead car drove up the distance to our home at a very slow pace, a very JoLon – Joburg to London pace -  but I resisted the temptation to overtake and let my ears revel in the crisp exhaust notes and the sinking back into the seat feeling of unfamiliar acceleration. Rolling slowly around the final corner before my house l noticed a large number of cars parked up on the pavement outside the houses of my neighbours and assumed they were having a Sunday afternoon party. BIG MISTAKE! When my house came into view I was greeted by a mass of people who occupied the entire street and were screaming and leaping up and down welcoming us back home. There were massive banners strung across the street, a public address system bellowing out Queen’s rendition of “we are the champions” and a barrage of cameras snapping photos of us as we took the Chequered flag that was so lovingly hand painted by my daughter Caitlin.

At this stage things became rather blurred, yes the magnitude of the moment contributed to this haze but the tears that welled up in my eyes were the main cause of vision distortion.

 JoLon Imp homecoming 2013

Sight and breath restored I was able to slowly take in the awesome vista; my family, my extended family, Geoff’s family, Geoff’s extended family, my neighbours, my close friends from all over Joburg and my racing pals all there to shake our hands and hug us home. It was a super super special feeling that we will always remember and cherish.

My neighbours Marius and Rob were the two who put the whole event together and not a detail was omitted, right down to the winners’ bottles of bubbly that we were presented with to spray on the street made podium.

Not only were we showered with bubbly but also with gifts! Commemorative tee shirts, Hillman Imp Models and the coup de grace the uber generous presentation by Frank Copping of the previously commissioned oil painting of the Imp but the renowned artist Gary Seitz.

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Rob and Marius had also set up two massive displays of over 200 photos of our trip on display boards that brought memories of our trip flooding back and a great focal point to share stories with our friends about our trip.

A massive thanks to Marius and Rob and all the people they roped into make us feel so thoroughly special on our return. (The Residents Association Chairman, the community security company Proforce and Rawson Property) who all played their part is converting Collins Avenue Randparkridge a truly special place on Sunday afternoon 19th of may 2013. 

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4 comments

  1. Terence, i echo your sentiments about the great homecomming and thank ALL who put this together. Geoff


  2. Congratulations Terrence and Geoff. You are both brave men to do what you did in your Hilman Imp!


  3. You guys earned a HEROES welcome and got it!!!!!!!!


  4. YES and what a super lively street party it was. A WELCOME to the CHAMPION JOLON IMP duo. You richy deserved it boys. We salute you and are SO PROUD of you. My heartfelt thanks and deep appreciation to team MAROB (Maurius and Rob) for putting such a superb WELCOME together. Many thanks to Rawson Properties for the gazebo, boerie rolls, tea, coffee, biscuits(sure lots else that I’ve missed out) and your cheerful and funfilled company. EVERYBODY who participated in making the WELCOME HOME so memnorable THANK YOU. SOOO HAPPY to have my husband home XxX



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