The Misadventures of Captain Ratty, Lord Trousers and the formation of the London Mud Club
It was a sunny Saturday afternoon when Captain Ratty came rambling through the Hampshire countryside with his two fox red Labradors and he happened upon Lord Trousers of West Green, landlord of the Cock Inn. On that particular day Trousers was in the garden tending to my plums.
A convivial conversation ensued where they both soon discovered they had much in common, a shared passion for copious amounts of red wine, exotic gin, premium cigars and - the cherry on the top – they both loved vintage Land Rovers, and shared an ongoing passion for collecting, restoring and loving old Land Rovers. It was definitely going to be a fruitful friendship!
When this particular conversation occurred Captain Ratty already had “Little Blue” his Series III, and Trousers was already on the quest to acquire his next old Land Rover with personality. Soon afterwards His Lordship found a 1971 11a. Tin Tin was a fine specimen - one of the last of the 11a’s to leave the production line in late August of that year. A bronze green with just the right level of battered patina and the right amount of character that he was looking for.
Soon after that their misadventures began. And being the bounders and cads that they were chaos was always high on the agenda. Of course, like any good adventures, there have to be rules - and theirs evolved over many a glass of fine red wine, nibbling cheese and propping up the bar of the Cock Inn.
Land Rovers for them both became their midlife raison d'être. Their wives who cannot be named for fear of reprisals,(Teapot and the currant Mrs Ratty) are of the raised eyebrow and hand on hip variety. They never believed that their hair-raising adventures would amount to much, and dismissed it all as buffoonery of the highest order, so they had to prove them wrong.
As their Land Rover campaigns got more and more elaborate, the excitement and bravado that they both enjoyed soon attracted some of their oldest and closest friends attention, who were desperate to join in the skulduggery. This in turn led to the formation of the - London Mud Club, a truly elite club. It was attracting the cream of the crop - they were getting overwhelmed and even considering a secret handshake and guilt-edged certificates.
Members are gifted honorary nicknames and we welcomed Philly Willy Woo, No Sauna Jon, Drillbit and Clam Smacker who all bought series Land Rovers in quick succession. Even his Lordships brother (Armchair) who was a dyed in the wool London toff and Captain’s brother (Sandbag) had both committed to buying Land Rover’s off eBay blind, so they could join the exclusive league of adventurers. it was at that point that the official London Mud Club was born.
Armchair is involved in the classic car racing scene with some similar enthusiastic chaps residing in Southwest London, several of whom also had Land Rovers, so our membership grew exponentially.
The club now even has requests for membership from all 4 corners of the UK and abroad - so tales of Ratty and Trousers exploits have spread far and wide, thanks in part to their clips on Facebook and Instagram.
The club has strict membership rules, and all the club members must adhere to the dress code, to wear country gentleman’s attire with the LMC embroidered name patch on their landrovering wax jackets for whilst on official campaigns. It’s all about maintaining sartorial elegance while having high jinx.
The first rule of the London Mud club is do not talk about the Mud club, It’s not a secret society, but they are a club that admits only those who measure up, they are toffs like that!
These strict rules can only be changed if the members agree, so they are quite democratic. The members are gentlemanly and chivalrous and of course tough like our Land Rovers. If a member biffs his Land Rover he will often be heard shouting “Merely a flesh wound “or “nothing to see here”. As you can see it’s all good clean fun, even when the members are knee deep in gear oil, mud and engine grease!
It’s not all about testing the limits of the vehicles over the tough terrain, they like to enjoy the scenery and each other’s company and badinage. They often stop for “Tiffin time” which is generally where a bacon and death sausage bap, washed down with strong coffee is consumed and topped off with a celebratory campaign cigar.
The London Mud Club is an eccentric beast - part drinking club, part Land Rover fan club, they are not sure whether they are a Land Rover club with drinking Problem, or a drinking club with problem Land Rover’s.