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1942 Matchless G3L 350cc - The Abingdon Collection

1942 Matchless G3L 350cc

As a collector, I have often commented on the fact that we are only custodians of these large collections and in time they need to be passed on to a new generation who hopefully will both enjoy the thrill of ownership but also protect the memories attached to the artefacts.

I was recently very honoured to be offered one of the wonderful motorcycles from the ‘Noel Preston Collection’ in Omagh. Noel is an internationally recognised expert on AJS and Matchless machinery but unfortunately ill health has forced the breakup of his lifetime’s collection.

Noel was a keen restorer and historian on these machines and the collection was a true tribute to his skills. While the collection has now been dispersed, the machines are living new lives with owners who respect the sheer beauty and engineering of these vintage motorcycles.

It is sad for any owner to see a collection that he or she has been passionate about being broken up, but this has always been the way that new collectors get the enthusiasm to continue and keep history alive.

The names on documents may change as vehicles change hands but the passion lives on. In the Classic Car market at present, some models are changing hands for ridiculous sums today and there is currently no sign of the market slowing down.

In a booklet published by ‘Auto Classic Weekly’ in the 1990’s it recommended buying, among others, good condition E-Type Jaguars for £12,000 or Ford Escort Mexico’s for £3,000. If only we had all heeded the advice and stockpiled a few of the out of favour cars of the past we could all have retired by now.

This, however, is not why we collect these machines and gone are the days of the investor, only there to make a killing from another investment portfolio. Classic vehicle owners now keep what they have and search for the best they can afford.

There is no doubt that recent Classic Car Auction prices are affecting the market, you only have to look at recent results for Ford Capris to see how the market is changing.

Good classic cars and motorcycles will always hold their value and there is a need to collect, drive and show these fantastic machines to a new generation who hopefully will continue to keep this history alive. Collectors and restorers like Noel Preston and my late good friend, Nick Murray have ensured that history lives on in their tremendous skill and hands on work.

Young mechanics and collectors have a lot to learn in keeping this tradition alive and I hope that they take the time to reflect, learn from and develop the skills that are unfortunately being lost in a computer generated world where the humble carburettor will soon be a museum piece only.

Philip Faithfull,The Abingdon Collection

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog March 2016

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection – Collecting

Those of you who have signed in to read Harley’s regular words of wisdom are going to be disappointed, as this month he has given the human he owns a chance to say a few words about a subject close to my heart, namely ‘COLLECTING’.

Many of you are aware that this particular collecting disease came out of one single item given to me at the age of fourteen by the father of my girlfriend who was later to become my wife, Hazel.

This item happened to be a fairly rare Mk.1 Lee Metford bayonet. Not the usual gift, but one which would have a major influence on my life, my interests and more critically my bank balance which would rarely be in the black for the next fifty years.

If you do not collect you will read this article not understanding the fascination that comes from searching out an item that adds another artefact to an already crowded space.

However, if you have the misfortune to be blessed with the collector’s genes then you will know how all consuming this hobby can be. While there is no cure for it, we at least need to admit to having a problem and I can confirm that I am a militaria collector among other things and definitely have a problem.

There is no AA or GA for us and most of us suffer in silence, counting the cost and wondering where to put the next item that without question you do not need, cannot afford but must have.

Shopaholics are nothing when compared to collectors and they will travel thousands of miles each year searching for the illusive item that must be bought.

Thomas M. Johnson, in one of his excellent volumes on collecting Edged weapons, quotes William Melmoth who said …

An object in possession seldom returns the same charm that it had in pursuit.

Thomas M. Johnson quoting William Melmoth

Perhaps this is the essence of all collecting as we scour antique shops, militaria shows and the internet for that one item that must be had.

I was very saddened to read about the death of Roger Evans [1943 – 2016] who was one of the pioneer bayonet collectors who influenced many young collectors.

Growing up I relied heavily on the written expertise of John Watts, Peter White, Fred Stephens, Anthony Carter, Jim Maddox, Bob Richardson and others to provide knowledge in a very limited pool before the World Wide Web. Roger Evans was one of these teachers who fed the interest of his knowledge hungry audience with skill and an expertise that only time and experience can muster.

I have hundreds of collectors and students visit the collection each year and the variation in knowledge is obviously immense; from the collectors who surpass my meagre knowledge to the teenager just starting out but eager to learn.

Collector’s starting in the 1970’s relied heavily on the written word which was scarce but they also relied on networks of other collectors who had handled edged weapons in the past and built up an authority that only experience can give. It worries me today that we rely on the Internet for everything and books will only be used as a last resort.

Collecting friends have built up massive libraries of reference books but what will happen to these when the time comes to pass them on? It takes time to build up even a basic knowledge base in any collecting subject and Militaria collectors have such a wide area of interest to cover that we can never hope to achieve full knowledge of our subject or the history that surrounds it.

Writers like Roger Evans provided an education to collectors searching for basic knowledge on this fascinating subject and I sincerely hope that others will follow in his footsteps in the years to come.

We all know that we are only the custodians of these collections and artefacts and I sincerely hope that young collectors will put the time, energy, finance and knowledge into keeping living history alive.

I invite those interested to visit The Abingdon Collection in Omagh, County Tyrone, Northern Ireland, to see what one item given as a gift some fifty years ago can turn into.

Collecting is a disease but I am so glad I contracted it at such an early age.

Philip FaithFull, The Abingdon Collection

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog February 2016

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi Fans, Harley Beagle here with another exciting adventure in the life of Dusty dog and me. I have complained before that my life revolves around sleeping, eating, playing, walking, more sleeping and trying to set a new world record in building mountains of ‘poo’ in the back garden.

There has always been something missing in my life and while Dusty can offer moral support she is never actually going to be the love of my life. She is about six inches in height off the ground and I am a good three feet when on all fours. February, I have been told, brings with it St. Valentines day and with it Beagle Harriers thoughts turn to love.

One major problem of course is that as a young dog I was kidnapped, imprisoned, drugged and underwent medical procedures without my consent. I ask you, is this fair or even legal? I am now forced to wander the wastelands like Mad Max with no chance of ever having any puppies of my own.

That is very sad and I never even got a chance to try it. I just moved from being a puppy to being a confirmed bachelor. At least Dusty got to see what all the fuss was about all I got was the chance to smell the rear end of a Golden Retriever. So much for adolescence, walks in the country, meals out and the companionship of a partner for life.

So when you buy the roses and chocolates on St. Valentine’s Day spare a thought for me, my love unrequited and if you feel bad enough just send treats to Harley Beagle at The Abingdon Collection. Your donation to the escape fund ensures Dusty and me another year of living in luxury, with no worries except which ball will I play with today.

It’s not a bad life but I do feel that I missed out on something… I am just not sure what.

‘Time for bed and more dreams’ said Dusty.

‘Time for food’ said Harley.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog January 2016

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, and can I wish you all a very happy New Year. Well, Christmas is over for another year and I just hope that you got better presents than I did. You know that I do not normally complain but I need to call a spade a spade… in fact, a spade may have been a more useful present than what I actually received.

Imagine all the hype and excitement in the build up to Christmas morning, decorations to destroy, turkey to steal and presents to tear apart. I decided to be good this year and see what bounty would be bestowed on a well behaved Beagle Harrier.

Christmas morning dawned and the humans got very excited over a load of old tat, but what was there for me and Dusty? The humans unwrapped the blessed things for us not even giving us the satisfaction of tearing the paper apart. The parcel opened and what glorious gifts do I get?

Answer… another bloody red dog collar!!!

Well excuse me for not being overwhelmed by the generosity of the people I own but this is simply rubbing salt in the wounds… For five years, pup and dog, I have been subjected to this form of indignation in having to wear a leather shackle around my neck and been pulled around places I did not want to go.

So, a new collar?… I looked at it in disgust and then someone said  – ‘look his name and telephone number are engraved on it, isn’t that cute’… ‘CUTE! CUTE?’… I know my name is Harley and if my memory serves me well I have never had to phone home once in my last five years on this planet… not only that but if I was phoning myself it would be pointless as I would be the one making the call to myself…. Do they never think these things through?

So what does Dusty get that I can steal… you guessed it another daft collar with her name and telephone number on it… great! Now if you think I don’t need to phone home spare a thought for Dusty who up to eighteen months ago had never even seen a phone let alone used one. So what now? Well if we are ever apart I guess we could phone each other provided we had eyes in the back of our heads to actually read the phone number.

What a waste of money… I wanted a big T-bone steak or at least a couple of burgers and all I get is a stupid red collar… life is so unfair. Dusty ended up also getting some coats for the cold weather… do humans not realise that we already are supplied with fur coats that have done us well for the last few thousand years.

Dusty looks like a very small, fat Superhero when they dress her up. They would have been better equipping her with a set of small training wheels underneath her stomach to keep it off the ground when she walks. Oh no… They are trying to fit her into a mini Santa suit and cap now.

Don’t worry Dusty, I will save you!!!

I also got two Christmas stockings full of treats, a lot of food and a lot of hugs and walks… maybe this Christmas lark is not so bad after all.

Anyway, must go now to devour the remains of the Christmas turkey. Dusty and I wish you all a very Happy New Year and don’t forget to visit us in 2016. My New Year resolutions will be to lose weight, do more exercise and be more tolerant of the people I own. Going for a well deserved sleep now ‘cause I only got twelve hours last night.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog December 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

First of all, apologies to all my followers for not writing my blog for the last two months for as some of you know Hazel’s mum died in October from a brain tumour and my heart was just not in it.

Anne had known me from a rescued pup and used to nurse me until I was almost as heavy as she was… Dusty and I will miss all her hugs and kisses.

Anyway, life must go on and, this month I am going to teach all dogs how to avoid obeying your owner’s commands. First of all, lull them into a false sense of security by doing the usual paw trick and even the ubiquitous ‘high five’. Humans will laugh at this for no apparent reason and it’s a good ice-breaker for them and you may get a few much needed treats.

Now let’s start with the walk. Play the obedience card and act all excited as they put the lead or harness on you and say soothing words like ‘good boy’. You can even nonchalantly get into the back seat of the car without too much fuss until you get to the wide open spaces of the forests and glens.

This is your time to shine if you haven’t pee’d in the car already or been sick. Let them get out of the car first and play dumb until your car door is open. They will probably grab the lead while trying to adjust their gloves, radio, keys or mobile phone.

Now is the time to strike… As soon as any daylight shines through the car door take off like a ‘bat out of hell’. Best case scenario, you will jolt the lead out of their hands and make your attempt for freedom dragging your lead behind you.

Worst case scenario, you dislocate their shoulder in screams of pain as they try to lock the car with the other hand and try to keep the swear words acceptable to the amused masses watching the performance unfold.

You are off and running, pulling as hard as possible as the human tries to remain upright and smile as the onlookers wave him goodbye from the safety of their picnic tables. A good racing start is hard to beat and it is always nice to know that he has no option but to follow you at twenty miles an hour because he is shackled to you on a long lead.

I particularly love going downhill as the brakes on the average human leave a lot to be desired. Also try making a ninety degree turn at the bottom of a hill particularly in the snow as this will generate centrifugal force which can catapult the victim in a beautiful arc to the accompanying screams and curses that I cannot repeat. This sweeping act of movement would grace any ballet stage and the look of terror on a humans face, who is about to go headfirst into a snow drift, is a sight to behold.

If he survives this, try the old ‘pooping trick’… this involves relieving yourself in a well ordered steaming pile and obediently sitting, waiting for the plastic poo bag to be filled…  Just at the right moment as he is trying to tie the bag and ensure clean hands, bolt like blazes and make a run for it.

The poo bag usually flies into the air and the well recognised swearing, that no Harley beagle should ever have to hear, wafts through the air. On occasions like this I have even been called the ‘Son of God’, which is very flattering.

On the way back to the car keep going forward and then turn ninety degrees in a different direction… it works every time and can lead to an extended walk or a broken wrist.

Back at the car just refuse to get in as this creates hours of fun for onlookers as the ‘boss’ tries to lift forty plus kilos of dead weight dog into the car… Oh what fun!!!

In the car just ignore the curses from the sweating driver who vows never, ever to take you out again… it’s all in the game and you will win every time…

So until next month have a great Christmas, eat a few slippers, pee on the carpet and practice howling at 3.00am in the morning… It’s a dog’s life but worth the effort.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog September 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here again. This month I thought that I would give you an insight into the world of cats and how they differ from dogs. This may help you if you are ever attacked by a rabid, Zombie cat in heat.

I grew up with two cats Mini and Midge, but Mini died last year just after Dusty arrived on the scene (no connection). Anyway, Midge is now over 20 years old and lives in luxury in her own room, on her own bed with room service on demand. Hazel found her in a hedge as a kitten in 1995, brought her home and she has been a permanent feature since.

She has food on tap and has a tendency to visit it a little but often. My idea of food is to visit once and scoff the lot. I often organise raiding parties into Midge’s room just to check on her well being and to ensure that her food has not gone off.

She sleeps on a fur pedestal. I just sneak in, devour everything and leave… but not last week! I opened the door, ate what ever was available and turned to leave…

Midge was lying blocking the door with a grin on her face, to say ‘caught you dog, just try to get out of here’. Now I am a forty kilo killing machine and she weighs about three kilos on a good day but I have fought ‘Ninja Killer Cats’ before and never won the battle.

So Harley Beagle goes into stealth mode and I make myself as small as I can and lie down for the long wait. She will get fed up first, move and I will run out the winner of this battle of minds… two hours later I am still sitting there and now feeling a bit peckish… All rations gone, cut off from the troops and surrounded by a black and white pensioner cat.

Midge fell asleep through boredom, but I have seen this tactic before and if I had advanced to the door my rear end would have received a counter attack. I now needed a pee. Cats have litter trays and all dogs get is grass… life is so unfair.

After another hour I was rescued by human intervention with the usual cutting remarks about being scared of a little cat… I take this in my stride as I know that cats have the power to inflict pain on places that big dogs need to protect.

So, until the next time ‘moggy’ when Dusty and I will raid together… Dusty will be the advance party and the rear guard action force. Not even cats mess with Dusty.

Where Beagles Dare - The Abingdon Collection
A still from my new film… ‘WHERE BEAGLES DARE’
Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog August 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here again. It’s been a quiet month here at the Collection and Dusty and I have had to amuse ourselves. We don’t have a lot of toys left because Dusty has a tendency to eat them, so we end up with tennis balls.

Now let’s be honest, six tennis balls out in the garden are not much good unless a human throws them. My goal in life is to bark as loud as possible until someone picks up the ball and throws it. I will fetch it, bring it back, bark and wait for it to be picked up and thrown again… this is the way of the World, when everything is in balance…

I bark, they throw, I pick up, I bring it back… SIMPLES.

Seemingly, not for humans, as they seem to have the attention span of the flea!

I can do this for hours but they get fed up after the first fifty throws. I have been training the human I own for five years now. All he has to do is pick it up and throw it but will he keep doing it? No… and they say dogs are hard to train.

Dusty loses interest after an hour or so and goes to bed. I wish she had a bit more ambition in life than just trying to maim the postman every morning.

Visitors from all over the world flock here to see me… I am going to start to charge for photographs if they don’t soon bring me some treats… it is difficult being a superstar and I hope soon to star in my first film the follow up to Marley called…

‘When Harley met Dusty’.

Anyway, must go for a walk now and meet a few of my adoring fans.

Give me a call on 028 8224 3373 and all contributions to the Escape fund will be gladly accepted.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog July 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, Harley Beagle here. It’s been a strange month at Beagle Towers as Hazel’s mum Anne is very ill and is suffering with a brain tumour. People have been very kind and we have had lots of relatives and friends visit us from all over the world.

We try to raise money at The Abingdon Collection to make Cancer a thing of the past and with your help we will get there.

Dusty and I have been joined this month by my cousin by marriage ‘Poppy’ a Bischon Frise who is visiting with the people she owns. Poppy is a very posh dog, but I will soon knock that out of her. Dusty ignores her but is always interested in her diet and ensuring she does not eat too much.

She has joined us on some of our enforced marches and has even started to talk to us on the way round. I think that I will teach her some of the curse words the guy I own shouts at me… Stop… Dusty just ran out the door after the postman but he was safely tucked up in his van.

If she ever actually meets him face to face we will all be in the Sunday papers and the Jeremy Kyle show. Dusty has an absolute hatred for postmen and is like a thing possessed when he comes to the door. I am thinking of contacting the guy that directed the ‘EXORCIST’ to see if he would be interested in doing a film called… ‘Dusty, the postman never rings twice’.

Dusty’s head has now stopped spinning and has settled down… until the next time!

Better go now as I have had only twelve hours sleep last night and need a siesta before my walk and all important food.

Poppy has brought some unusual dog treats and I have just sussed out where they are stored… they will join the Escape Committee’s food store unless we decide to eat them tonight.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog June 2015

More thoughts from The Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, this month I have decided to focus my attention on my passion for classic cars. Not many people know this, but I am probably the only Beagle Harrier who can claim to have eaten at least three classic cars and tasted another ten.

I had a misspent youth and my first experience in Classic motoring were my attempts at eating the entire interior from an MX5. This story has been well covered in the infamous and well published Harley Ate My Gearknob!, so I will not bore you with the gory details again; suffice to say that the guy I own still has the car and I regularly let him use it, providing I ride alongside him.

I got into more trouble as a young impressionable pup when the rear end of a mint 1986 Opel Manta Exclusive was parked directly behind my bed in the garage. Yes, as unbelievable as it seems Dusty and I are forced to sleep on two couches wrapped in thermal blankets and duvets parked behind two classic cars… Life is so unfair and we are contemplating lodging a complaint with the Northern Ireland Housing Executive. But I digress.

So picture the scene, one bored and depressed Harley Beagle lying in bed watching the rear end of an Opel Manta. I watched this for at least four hours before I decided that the rear electrics, fog lamp and tow bar were all within reach of my teeth; without me even having to get out of bed. Now what self respecting dog would not have a nibble at coloured wires and bright red plastic. After an hour I got fed up and went to sleep content in the knowledge that I had done a great job.

The next morning dawned to the welcome sound of my breakfast coming down the stairs to the garage… All was well with the world and I just stayed in bed… big mistake… He looked at the floor, looked at me, looked at the back of the car and looked back at the evidence scattered across my bed. OOOPS, this was not going well and a sudden unholy scream convinced me that retreat through the dog flap was probably a good idea.

I could hear loud sobbing through the garage door but decided that a good early morning pee would be the best form of defence.

I learned from this mistake and now ensure that I am outside before he comes down the stairs just in case that I have decided to amuse myself during the night.

My next encounter with the classics was when I mistook the small red front ball indicators from a Fiat X/19 for my tennis ball and had just managed to pull them both off when he arrived with an enthusiast to view the said car. Oh, what fun we had as I was chased around the garden with items being thrown in every direction.

I learned some very bad words that day which is not good for a young impressionable dog. Dusty has just woken up so I am going to try to get her into trouble by planting a chewed up mudflap from the Manta in her bed and see how she likes it.

Diet going well… Lost 3 ounces last week.

Call me on 028 8224 3373 for a booking.

TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence - The Abingdon Collection

TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence

We are pleased to announce that The Abingdon Collection has been awarded the annual TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence for the second year running.

The TripAdvisor 2015 Certificate of Excellence recognises hospitality excellence and is only given to organisations that consistently achieve great reviews from travellers on TripAdvisor.

We would like to thank the individuals and groups from around the world that visited the Collection over the last year, including those who took the time and effort to complete a review on TripAdvisor.

The Abingdon Collection represents a unique alternative tourism product in County Tyrone, Northern Ireland and we continue to grow due to your support.

Small private collections, which open their doors to the public, are now few and far between but the interest continues from visitors, both local and worldwide.

The Abingdon Collection attempts to recreate a time gone past while raising much needed funding for Cancer Research UK. The generosity of the public has been exceptional and makes the continuing development work on the collection all the more important.

We thank everyone who has visited us for their continued support and invite you to take ‘A Walk in the Past’.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog May 2015

More thoughts from the Abingdon Collection

Hi fans, before I start this month I need to get something off my chest, a dislike for Dog Groomers. Dusty got kidnapped last month and after six hours the people we own paid the ransom and we got her back. She was traumatised, far too clean and smelled of Lavender.

It took her at least ten minutes to roll about the wet lawn to even smell like a dog again and get upstairs with good old muddy footprints.

I have been conned before into going into these dens of vice and will not be caught again. They put the lead on, get you into the car, promise hope of open fields and you end up in a prison cell for six hours for a shampoo and set.

I don’t remember signing any consent form for that. I think that I smell pretty good and if I need a wash I will have a quick dip in the local burn or puddle. Doggy beauty parlours are not for me and once bitten twice shy.

I am forty kilos of pure muscle and a little fat and I can lie down all day if necessary but they will need a winch and a block and tackle to get me out of the car and into any salon for pampering.

It has been a great month at the collection with a lot of money raised for Cancer Research and we have a lot of visits booked for May particularly from classic car clubs.

Please give us a call on 028 8224 3373 to make a booking and support my new diet plan for the summer months… I intend to get Dusty to lose two kilos by eating as much of her food as possible.

By the way don’t forget to visit BEECHGROVE DOGGY FUN PARK Facebook page to see me and my mates having a fantastic time.

Harley's Beagle Blog - The Abingdon Collection

Harley’s Beagle Blog April 2015

More thoughts from the Abingdon Collection

Well, here we are again. Dusty and I have formed an Escape committee and continue to try to find ways to try to get out of this camp. The high walls, barbed wire, guards and machine gun posts make it difficult but we are determined.

Dusty has been trying to dig up the back garden but a one inch hole to try to bury her poo is a rather futile gesture. The guards left the front door opened last week but I only got 200 yards before being bundled into a car. Dusty missed the breakout as she was asleep and I just do not think her heart and soul is committed to the escape plan.

New groups visiting the collection always give me hope that an opportunity to escape will come and one of them will forget to close the main gate. I live in hope providing I can get back in for supper and my bed at night.

It is the boredom of captivity that gets to me and Dusty has lost all interest in chasing me and the balls. Even the cats come over the wall and we ignore them, and while they can run freely we only get a two hour route march every day and Dusty’s wee legs are suffering. I am still awaiting a Red Cross Parcel of food and hope to see my friends at BEECHGROVE DOGGY FUN PARK soon.

The Abingdon Collection raised over £2000 last year for Cancer Research, making it our best year yet, so why not give us a call on 028 8224 3373 to make a booking.

I hope someone remembers to bring me some food as we only get fed twice a day and I am beginning to see my bones.