A chuffin' good rally.

16th - 18th March.  2007

    Yet another Moonshiners M.C.C. rally is upon us.  Considering the cruel trick that the weather played on us last year, when Sunday saw us under a couple of inches of snow, we decided to move the rally backwards by one week.  Wouldn't you just know it - last weekend was quite mild and sunny, still, there's nowt we can do about that now.  I dug the trestles and the table tops out of the shed - evicted the spiders from the kettles - sorted the lighting kit out, and loaded the lot into the work's van.  A quick stop for a late breakfast, then meet up with a few fellow Moonshiners down at the rally site.   Once more we played that ever popular game "putting up the control tent".  It was then we found the 'spare' tent had been eaten by mice, well not exactly eaten, but sort of nibbled upon.  Good job it's a spare tent  - - - it's now a skip tent.  Before long the boiler was boiling, the lights were lighting, the cheese and onion cobs were, err, doing whatever it is that cheese and onion cobs do.  One of our members was carrying something that he claimed was a loaf of bread - we reckoned it was more of an offensive weapon than a basic foodstuff.  I wouldn't like to have fallen in the river whilst hanging on to the thing.

what's that in your hand, Kev ?

It didn't take long for folks to start arriving.  Some of 'em had arrived from quite a distance.  Jacky travelled in from mid Wales on her BMW outfit - to take the long distance female trophy.  Also from Wales, this time from the Isle of Anglesey, Geoff and Carole came on their Ural outfit - to take the long distance male award.  Looks like the Welsh are cleaning up on the awards this year.

Long distance male - Geoff on his Ural outfit.

A little closer to home - Gordon turned up on his Reliant engined BSA outfit.

Hail - Mountain Man

Hmm - three people, three wheels.  Which brings me on to the best trike award.  A most fascinating Reliant based beastie, with the apt name of "Skallywagon" - belonging to a member of the "Double Drat" - which also happened to be the club who won the club turnout trophy.  

Skallywagon - says it all really.

The trophy for 'rat bike' went to Shuff - and here I've cheated because the picture is from our rally three years ago.

Shuff - and it's a good likeness

Oops - almost forgot the best bike.  That went to a very tidy Panther outfit.  Hmm - do I detect some kind of bias towards things with three wheels here ?   If there is, it ain't anything to do with me - I wasn't even there when the judging took place.

Right - that's the awards done and dusted - so on with the rally.

    The rest of Friday went fairly smooth, with just the odd niggle thrown in for good measure.  Friday evening was a laid back affair - folks were drinking and talking bollocks, as per normal.   I tried out the pub food, which filled the gap nicely.  I managed to corner a few people in the bar and subjected them to all manner of acoustic torment, aided and abetted by my trusty ukulele.   Not being able to suffer their cries of "stop" for much longer, I relented and headed for bed.

Filling up nicely now.

    Saturday was one of those early Spring days - the sun was bright, the breeze didn't  have that cold edge to it and the sheep were happily grazing - and so were the ostriches.  The English countryside gets stranger every year.   Most rally goers headed for the steam train - I had a few things to attend to, so I made good my escape for a few hours.   The man on the radio said make the best of the sunshine, because we are due for snow again in the morning.  Déjà-vu time.   I got back to the site by mid evening - and our entertainer, Paul Snook, had bought two friends with him.  They were giving it all they'd got up in the pub lounge - and folks seemed to be well happy.  I opted for the 'quiet bar' and sat talking for a while.  The one thing I really like about our rally is the choice of bars.  If you want the band and the lively bits, then head for the lounge - if you want to sit and generally put the world to rights, then go for the bar - and if that gets a bit too much, then go cool off in the conservatory.  I took another option, and sat down in the control tent for a couple of hours.  It's amazing how bikers seem to get the munchies around midnight.   Good job we made a fair pile of cobs.  By around one in the morning, I wandered off to bed . . . . other folks were made of sterner stuff, and carried on well into the wee smaller hours.

    Sunday morning - and although the sun was shining, it was noticeably colder . . . . and a rather large, black, mean looking cloud was creeping up on us from behind.  The chap on the radio was right - the morning seems to be the best part of the day.  Most folks had packed up and left - which made life a bit easier for us brave souls who wandered around with bin liners and made sure the site was left all clean and tidy.  By eleven o'clock the snow was coming down think and fast - by ten past eleven the snow had stopped, and we had blue sky and sunshine again.  As I said earlier - the English countryside gets stranger every year.

   So ends this year's rally.  We had a few problems, but nothing that caused more than a minor niggle.  The weather could have been better, but, there again, it could have been so much worse.  To all the folks that turned up on bikes / trikes and braved the snow - thanks - it's people like you who make the effort worthwhile.



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