The first ever nano-meet wasn't planned as a meet. I'd just agreed to help Mike fit his powerfold mirrors. Then I realised that I wouldn't be able to feed the wires through the door-jamb trunking because of my recurring carpal tunnel problem.

Rob came to the rescue and agreed to come over and assist in fitting Mike's powerfolds and there were one or two jobs on his own car that might be considered.

One thing led to another and before long there were several people who were interested in turning up to do work on their cars which, whilst probably well within their capabilities, would be easier to do with the support of others with some knowledge and some appropriate tools.

We got a lot done that day and I think all agreed that we were well fed and watered by Marion with her "signature" bacon sandwiches. We even attacked Mike's powerfolds with a hammer and cold chisel! (Don't ask - you don't want to know).

It seems that everybody had a good day. So much so that when the idea of another was suggested, we very soon had a list of some eight or so cars intending to turn up on the day. The photos accompanying this little history were taken on the second meeting and show quite clearly how little room their is on my drive (three cars max) and how tolerant my neighbours are.

Once again, a lot of work was done by those who thought they could but just needed the slight confidence boost of having somebody there to say "Yes, you remove that bolt" or "Yes, you need to cut that wire" and all of a sudden, the idea of mutual gatherings, designed purely for working on cars (and eating bacon sandwiches) took off.

Unfortunately, the popularity of the event proved to be a potential logistical nightmare with all parking spaces in the vicinity of my house being taken up by various Rover 75s and MG ZTs.

Rob, always willing and able to help came up with the idea of holding a meet, which was by now known as a nano-meet, at a venue just across the road from his house called "Teddy Bears Nursery". He got on well with the custodian and was able to take charge of the keys to a large area of hard-standing, well off the road and securely fenced, where work could be done. It was totally outdoors but the nano-meets do seem to be blessed with reasonable to good weather. This time catering would be courtesy of Rob's good lady. Jayne even press-ganged her daughter into assisting and put on a terrific spread. Once again, the unofficial motto of the nano-meets was apparent:- "Nobody goes home hungry or thirsty"

By this time the nano-meets were becoming property oweners as well, thanks to donations from people who supported the idea. We now have our own water boiler, and marquee / gazebo and these, along with other marquees, and generators and so on, mean we are largely self-contained.

The first meet at Teddy Bears was a great success and it was decided to make it the base for future nano-meets as the number of cars now turning up far exceeded the space that would be available at a private house, although mini nano-meets still take place at various houses in the area.

It was about this time too, that the "Electrickery Modules" started becoming popular and the nano-meets were an ideal venue to fit them for those who don't relish ripping their car's electrical systems apart.

The nano-meets continued to grow and we now had the services of first one, and then two, T4 setups where the owners were magnanimous enough to spend the day working on cars at no charge. That's one of the main philosophies of the nano-meets, by the way, no money changes hands for any of the work done and believe me, it works. The amount of things I've had dome on my car far outweighs the work I've put in on others and I feel sure that regular nano-meeters would agree.

Rules were not formally considered but just seemed to come about with common sense. ie, nothing that couldn't be completed in a day, nothing "oily" and the owner is always responsible for his or her car.

Once again, the increase in numbers threw up a potential logistical problem in that we thought that Jayne, skilled and efficient as she is, was having too much to do with the amount of catering required every time we decided to have a nano-meet. Two occasions, Mick (Grey Ghost) would run a barbecue for us which was great but its an awful long way for him to travel and his health doesn't always allow him to do so either.

The solution came to us courtesy of Lyndon and Mick, who were friendly with the guv'nor of a super pub called "Four Ashes" which was conveniently placed just to the North of Wolverhampton. Not only did it have a huge area of land that we could use, there was food available all day, and the guv'nor was very car-friendly, with several other events taking place there on a regular basis. One important consideration was the fact that camping and caravanning was allowed in the grounds and there was a toilet / shower block available, all of which was granted free of charge. This meant that people form further afield could come over on the Saturday and stay overnight for the nano-meet to take place on the Sunday, as usual.

In addition, we decided to arrange a meal in the pub's restaurant on the Saturday night. The first one was, well, a bit disorganized but this was more than made up for by meeting friends old and new and, I'm told, by the developing social event which followed the meal and lasted well into the early hours of Sunday morning. In fact, this has been a major highlight in subsequent meets and seems to have developed a life of its own.
The first nano-meet at Four Ashes was voted a success and so it became the venue of choice for the larger meetings and after a while, we decided to try a whole weekend and declared the first two day nano-meet, still with the meall in the restaurant on the Saturday but now with people arriving on the Friday and having TWO social evenings and two days of nano-meets which means that almost all jobs on our cars are now within reach as far as time is concerned. Those who don't want to stay on site are amply catered for by local motels and B&Bs.

These meets were attended by people from far and wide and became known as national nano-meets and it wasn't long before we went one better even than that and had our first international nano-meet, attended by Jürgen who came over from Germany to see what all the fuss was about. This was another of the weekend nano-meets and so far is the pinacle of our events, boasting, if I remember correctly, in the region of forty cars. That's not bad going looking back at the early days when a few cars used to turn up outside my house.
The nano-meets are an entity in their own right and whilst we draw from the membership of several Rover 75 / MGZT internet fora, they are independant and membership of a forum is not a requirement. In fact, the only requirements are to have, or be keen on, one of the appropriate cars and possibly, a sense of fun and sense of humour as well. The altruistic nature of those who attend is truly amazing and can be seen in action time and again at the nano-meets. In fact, if it wasn't for the generosity and kindness of all those who attend, the nano-meets wouldn't exist.
The next step, as far as I'm aware, is for the loosely formed group sometimes known as the "Nano Elders" to get together and plan out a year's worth of nano-meets for 2012. This way, we can do our best to ensure that we don't conflict with other meetings. These will of course, be concentrated during the warmer months of the year but I'm sure there will still be a few for the hardy earlier and later in the year and the more spontaneous mini nano-meets, I'm sure, will continue to thrive with the enthusiasm of all those who turn up.

So. There it is. From a few like minded souls on the drive of a private house for a few hours to a full week-end, including international visitors and well organized by the Nano Elders.

These are the nano-meets and this text is dedicated to the hard-core of nano-meeters who turn up and work their magic at each meet. Thanks everybody!