"Toad in the Hole"
Toads and Dogends Rally Club.
7th - 9th November. 2008
I have to say, I’ve never done this rally. ( Come to think of it, I still can’t say that I’ve done this rally ) The Moonshiners, as a club, have always supported this rally – even to the point that a few of our members have moved “down South” to live and have joined the Toads and Dogends rally club. Now I know you are saying “But I’ve read a rally report from this rally” Well maybe you have – Kath did that one back in 2003, and was kind enough to submit a rally report about it. Going on what I’d been told, I expected the site to be small and the pub to be compact. Anyway, throwing all this to the back of my mind, I decided to try this rally. I hadn’t booked in advance with the club, but a “spare” ticket came up on Thursday night, so taking this as some kind of omen, I promptly bought said ticket. I didn’t have the option of travelling on Friday, so It was to be a Saturday run. As it happened, another “Moonshiner in waiting” needed a lift down – I had plenty of room in my trailer, so a plan was formed.
By half past eleven we were rolling merrily down the M5 – in less than ten miles the weather had changed from cloudy with occasional sunshine, to cloudy with torrential rain. Time to stop and put the waterproofs of. I’m happy to say that within five or six miles, the rain stopped and never showed its face again. I really love riding through the countryside in the Autumn, the colours are grand, Every corner shows different trees in different stages of colour change, then the sun breaks through and the whole plot changes yet again. There’s that lovely smell of wet leaves – not such a lovely smell if you encounter it half way round a bend whilst riding a solo bike. Fish Hill came and went, so did Stow on the Wold. We passed Bourton on the Water before reaching Cirencester, where we took the Stroud road. The road down to the Tunnel Inn had some of the prettiest trees of the journey, I really should have set the bullet camera up on DOT before I left. Ah well, can’t do much about it now. Folks were right when they said the access road was a bit rough. If nothing else, it tested the new location of my brake servo. I have moved the servo up by around six inches. I was getting a little bit annoyed at ripping the bottom out of at least two of ‘em on speed bumps and the like. Good job I wasn’t pulling the “Dog Kennel”.
The Tunnel Inn – and you couldn’t move for bikes on the car park. Oh dear, it seems the tales of this being a small site were correct. I’m afraid I took one look and decided not to stay. This is in no way a slur on the Toads and Dogends rally club. I just don’t do crowded sites. I don’t camp on the side of a hill. I don’t camp where I can’t park next to the tent, and I ain’t a fan of small pubs with large crowds. Luckily, there were club members there who could take my passenger, Andy, back home. So he wandered off to put his tent up. I didn’t book in – as far as I’m concerned, I may have travelled down there, but I didn’t attend the rally and as such ain’t entitled to the rally badge. Maybe after thirty odd years of rallying the novelties wearing off ? I will have to have a serious think about this. I really enjoyed the ride there. Even though most of the folks I know were there, I just couldn’t work up the enthusiasm to stay. I seem to be doing fewer rallies then ever these days. Is it the rally scene that is changing, or is it me ? Ah well, at least the ride back was enjoyable, so that more than justified the 150 miles or so that were on the clock when I got home. Just to give me that “Rally Feeling” I cooked my tea using the Primus stove which I had unpacked from my camping equipment. Who knows – some other Moonshiner just may wish to give us their take on this rally . . . . . but don’t hold your breath.