Moto Guzzi club G.B.
Bacon Slicer rally.
7th - 9th July. 2006.
Time once again to load as much stuff as possible on my long suffering Nuovo Falcone and head South for the Compass Inn. This time, for a change, I set off on Friday rather than Saturday. Apart from a bit of traffic on the roads leading out of the Black Country, everything went well. It wasn't too warm, there was a distinct lack of rain, the bike was running just how a big single should. This was one of those days when all things came together, and the journey down there was a pleasure. I really do love the sound of a lazy engine just plodding its way through some of England's finest scenery. By early evening I had set the tent up and my old faithful Primus stove was roaring merrily away - or at least it was for a while. Seems the poor old beast is now suffering from loss of pressure, right on its flange, of all places ( ooer Missus ). I dare say a new fibre washer will cure it. Despite my wonky stove, it didn't take too long to cook tea, and, having made short work of eating it, I wandered over to the pub to see how the rest of the "Guzzists" were getting on. It seems that as soon as they had finished eating, they left the pub and went to bed - all apart from one intrepid fellow. So it was left up to my good self, and this fellow, to set a good example, drinking wise, that is. The beer was reassuringly expensive - normal bitter at £ 2-65, whilst such delights as Guinness would set you back £ 3, and Becks lager £ 3-10. Maybe that's why folks all went to bed early ? By around half past ten, we too joined the rest of the folks, and made a move towards the tents.
I was awakened on Saturday morning by the sound of a Ducati 900 rolling up outside my tent - it was Andy, a fellow Moonshiner who had set off rather early in the morning ( well, it sounded early to me ). Once he had set up camp, and we had finished the obligatory cuppa, it was time to take a look at some of the Italian exotica that was parked in the field. There were "Bacon Slicers" of all shapes, and although at first glance they seemed the same, I can honestly say that I did not see two bikes that were identical. I must admit, the Italians make some very pretty little bikes, with the emphasis being on "little". As much as I admired some of these machines, there's no way a fat git like me would ever fit on one.
Having taken in the machinery on display, we took a short ten mile trip down to the city of Bath, mainly for a spot of shopping, but also to grab some dinner. By the time we returned to the site, many of the bikes had gone out for a run. A fair few Ducati singles arrived during the afternoon - and very nice they looked, and sounded, too. The rest of the afternoon was spent discussing all things bike related. The main event of the evening was the barbecue, which we declined on. They had only catered for around 25 folks, and there were more than that on the field, besides, we had bought our own food, and had the means to cook it, so it only seemed right to give the folks that weren't such "hardened campers" the pleasure of the food.
This time there were a few more sitting in the pub drinking - but not a great deal more. There again, I'm not a great lover of crowded pubs, so it made for an enjoyable evening sitting there talking bikes. Just to make sure the pub remained empty-ish, we made use of an ancient ritual involving Ukuleles and Ukulele-Banjos. If nothing else, it kept me and Andy amused for a while. We left the pub before closing time, and after a late night cuppa, hit the sack. Rain seemed to be the theme for Saturday night / Sunday morning. Rain and earwigs. If there's one insect that I detest, it's earwigs, and the little bleeders were everywhere. . . . even to the point that I had an earwig-rich breakfast the next day. Packing the tent up was even better - the nasty little critters came running out from all directions. Still - I'm a rufty tufty biker - so a few earwigs don't scare me ( so why am I looking under the keyboard whilst typing this ? ) and before long both the tent and its stowaways were safely packed away. Andy had to be back home as soon as possible, so having said my farewells to the "Guzzists" I came back the scenic way - via Stroud - Gloucester - Tewkesbury - Worcester - then up and over Clent Hills and back home.
I must admit, I do have a soft spot for these small - - thirty or so folks - - rallies, and even more so if it gives me an excuse to make single cylinder noises all over the countryside.
So thanks to the lads and lasses of the Moto Guzzi club G.B. - another most enjoyable weekend, and, all being well, I dare say I'll do it all again in about a year's time.