Welland Steam Rally
28th - 30th July
Here we are again. It's Friday night - I've had my tea - so it's time to wander over to the main field and see what's going on.
Some kind of steam rally by the look of things - I do like the almost "L.S. Lowry" quality of that picture. Match stalk men and women enjoying a night out, complete with blurred smoke stacks. In a way it sums up part of the atmosphere of steam rallies.
Now hindsight is a wonderful thing. I was rather dismayed that the Wurzels didn't appear on Saturday night, but upon checking when I got home, I found out they were booked for Friday night. Typical - I was wandering around elsewhere on site and missed them. Ah well - maybe next time I will buy the official program. The rest of Friday night went in a most pleasant fashion. Floodlit tractor pulling - a wonderful line up of showman's engines all in full steam and powering a variety of fairground rides - the Wall of Death - and, of course, the beer tent, although I did give this a miss due to having a few pints of cider earlier. I hadn't had cider for years, and it hit the spot just right in this heat. . . . . . and so to bed.
Saturday morning, and what better way to start the day off than taking in a few stationary engines. All manner of engines from pocket size to a twin cylinder engine with a flywheel weighing in at three tons. Now that would make a damn good sidecar pulling engine. Considering the Much Marcle rally was only two weeks ago, and it was only held a few miles down the road, it surprised me that there were so many exhibits here that were not at Much Marcle. The one thing I noticed a lack of at Much Marcle was the Field Marshall tractor. These horizontal single cylindered machines, with their big external flywheel, remind me of my Guzzi. The main difference being that the tractor is 3500 cc, whilst the Guzzi is 500 cc. Now I didn't see a single Field Marshall two weeks ago, yet here at Welland there were more of 'em than you could shake a stick at . . . in all conditions . . . from rusty wrecks to over restored ornaments. Can't you just tell I quite like these tractors ?
There didn't seem to be quite the turnout of motorcycles this year, but there were enough to keep me amused for a while. There always seems to be something new turn up at these events, and the thing that caught my eye this year was a side valve Norton trials bike. Most unusual.
The rest of the day was spent taking in the sights, sounds and smells of the event. The evening's entertainment was provided by the Can Can dancers and "Maggie May", who was accompanied by a fairground organ. The firework display started off well, but seemed to peter out, with no magnificent finalé. It was about this time that the rain started, so Sam and myself started walking back to 'our field'. We got soaked, but with it being so warm it came as a relief - all we did was hang our wet clothes up back at the camp and by morning they were dry. We'd only been back at camp about fifteen minutes when the fireworks started up once again - some kind of problem maybe ?
Sunday morning and time for a last walk around - this time looking at the things I missed over the last two days, and believe me, there were plenty of things still to see. Vintage lorries, the vast array of cars, the miniature engines, the cider making (complete with wasps). I could go on, but there were still things we didn't get chance to have a good look at - - the craft tent, the model tent, the steam ploughing in the field behind the tractor pulling. I reckon you need more than a weekend to see everything at Welland. Once again, the weather was kind to us, perhaps too kind. One of the birds of prey had the right idea. I always wondered where the expression "Spread Eagle" came from . . . well, here is one spread eagle.
So ends another Welland steam rally. I noticed they had cut down on the 'non related' market stalls this year, and the event was better for it. I didn't hear any mention of the previous problem with thieves - either it had been sorted out or the powers that be thought it wise to say nowt. The weather was certainly good, and that little bit of rain on Saturday night was most welcome. Once again we had our own area to camp in, with only a fellow from New Zealand sharing it. By mid afternoon I was on my way home - a few more club members were on their way to Porlock . . . . I'd love to have joined 'em, but that evil thing know as "work" beckons on Monday. Still - there's always next weekend.