March 12, 13, & 14. 1999.
Once again, we had decided to hold our "Unplugged" rally on the banks of the river Severn, at Hampton Loade. The folks that came last year said they liked this site because of its proximity to the Severn Valley Railway. There's something about bikers and steam trains. Great noisy, hissing, belching, farting monsters that make lots of noise, and the steam trains are pretty good too.
The weather had been
fairly bad up until a few days before our rally was due, but as
everyone knows, the sun God loves the Moonshiners, and, true to
form, the sun did shine. Perhaps we should become the
Sunshiners M.C.C. ?
Considering that on the previous Friday, the river was quite happily flowing where our tents were now pitched, we didn't have that much mud to cope with.
By Friday night, we were well settled in with both the food tent and the "booking in / coffee" tent erected. Good job we bought that job lot of Viagra with us.
One of our newer members, Archie, happened to mention that this was his first rally.
"Ooo. A virgin" went the shout.
So, without further ado, we suspended Archie upside down from the beams above the bar. All good, clean fun.
The rest of Friday night passed as all good Friday
nights should. Eric, (pictured here) from the Principles
Rally Club, was a typical example of what happens when bikers and
beer mix. He enjoyed himself all night. So remember
folks, if you aren't careful you could end up having a good time.
By midnight, most of the little "Rallytubbies" were getting hungry, so our intrepid cook, and convicted poisoner, Lil, headed out to the "kitchen" and proceeded to feed the masses. To anyone who hasn't tried Kev's home made balti, you don't know what you are missing.
Saturday morning, and the sun shone even brighter. The best weekend of the year, so far.
the time I had emerged from my "little mobile house on the
prairie", most of the ralliests had jumped on the train and
were last seen chuffing towards Bridgnorth.
Kev, the curry cooker, wasn't feeling too well. To make matters worse he'd left his medication at home. I realized there were a few things that I'd forgotten as well, so, I headed back towards the Black Country with Kev's missus, Lil, on the back of the trike. What a pleasant day for riding around. Sunshine and not at all cold. The only thing missing were bikers. About 35 people "booked in", which, considering the beautiful weather, surprised me somewhat. We needed at least 50 people to break even on the cost of the site, things were looking grim.
By the time I returned with Kev's "drugs", a few more folks had turned up, but nowhere near the number we were expecting. Still, that's the way the piss pot cracks, as they say.
Saturday night in the pub went down well, to say the least. Due to some boxing match that was to be televised at four in the morning, the bar didn't close, as such. This resulted in some people, who shall remain nameless, emerging from the bar at 06:35.
"Cider with your breakfast sir?"
morning, and the "Moonshiners Cafe" was doing a brisk
trade in bacon and sausage butties. The tea and coffee was
free, as it had been all weekend.
By about midday, we had said our goodbyes and shifted into "Womble mode" ready to tidy up the field. This didn't take too long, as most bikers are creatures of tidy habits. The tables, that we borrowed from the pub were loaded onto a trailer belonging to one of the fields caravan "residents", so that saved us a load of hassle. There again, the same chap needed his caravan moving the day before. No problem when you have a dozen bikers on each side of it.
To the folks that came to "Uplugged 99", I would like to say thanks. I hope you enjoyed yourselves attending this rally, as much we enjoyed ourselves putting it on.
To Ken, the gaffer of the Unicorn Inn, I would also like to say thanks. If it hadn't have been for Ken only charging us half price on the field, the club would have lost a lot of money. As it was, we only made a small loss, but seeing as everyone enjoyed themselves, it was money well spent.
Back to 1999.