2012 Header
Hanging About in Weston
Another Campervan Rally for us with me driving this time. We arrived at Chieveley and joined the TWs.  The TT had left even earlier than on previous occasions….ie the day before ! At this rate by next season they will be leaving the first rally early to ensure arriving at the next one in time !  
We travelled in convoy, with Badger leading, Baz as rear gunner and the ‘Truck’ tagging on behind. We soon worked out a routine for changing lanes whereby Baz would pull over allowing me to pass him on the nearside then move in front of him into a gap he had created for me. As soon as the overtake had been completed we would return to our lane and I would leave a gap in front into which Baz would slot. Brilliant. It was hard work trying to keep up with the bikes but none the less we all arrived together. 

We quickly got parked and booked ourselves in for the 1pm tour of Grumpy’s Motorhome. (Should that be Motormansion). Grumpies VanWe entered through the garage which had earlier carried their two bikes. This space will be occupied in winter by an old style mini.  A step up takes you into the lounge area and to your right is a spiral staircase going up to the bedroom over the garage. The lounge has a sofa, arm chairs, flat screen TV. It has Air Conditioning, heating, a shower room, toilet, and a kitchen with cooker, microwave   ………..  The downside is, it is an HGV and although it runs on Petrol and /or LPG it only does about 10 miles to the gallon. But what a piece of kit.  

It was a large site and the facilities were good. The Scrumpies’ regular burger van was there doing a roaring trade all weekend. Real ale was on sale in the members’ bar which was greatly appreciated by me!  I continued my reconnaissance of the site and in the main hall saw a young attractive, I thought Japanese lady, but turns out she was Chinese. She looked up at me and gave me the biggest of beaming smiles. I smiled back and continued my tour. A little later on I passed her again, and once more was gifted a delightful smile. This happened two or three times more during the afternoon. I must confess it put a bit of a spring in my step. There’s nothing like a smile from a young lady to make a happy man very old. (or something like that).  

The band on Friday, Lipinski whom we have seen before, was brilliant and had the dance floor continually packed. Badger Bob was noticeable by his absence. It seems he peaked too soon. During the evening I went outside for some fresh air and joined Baz sitting on the wall outside the hall. As we chatted I became aware of my Chinese friend waving at someone from the window. I did the usual look around to see who she was waving at and was surprised to find it was me ! I waved back and she seemed to get embarrassed and moved sideways away from the window. “Did you see that?” I asked Baz. He had seen her and while we continued to look at the window we saw her trying to peak around the edge of the window to see if we were still looking. Very strange, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to me.  

We had a good night’s sleep in the van. It is much better than sleeping in a tent without doubt, but given the choice I’d willingly camp if I could go by bike. I felt there were just too many Camper vans there, and whilst I was one of the guilty, I guess it is symptomatic of the gradual aging of the membership. I just hope there are enough younger people joining to maintain an age balance or soon we’ll be the VSCC (Virago Star Campervan Club), and giving out prizes for the best custom zimmer frame.  
On Saturday most people went to Weston Super Mare by one means or another. Arls, Rosie and I took a taxi in and was later joined by Andre once his bike had been repaired. He had broken down on the way to the Rally with both throttle cables broken. It is likely one, the return cable, had broken a while ago and hadn’t been spotted during servicing. He had to limp to Weston using a piece of string tied to the throttle linkage. Not ideal, but he got there. After a stroll along the prom, a visit to the pier, some ice creams and a spell sheltering in a Hotel bar from a terrific downpour, we returned to site for a sleep prior to the party.
The band was competent and played some good numbers, but somehow they lacked any punch, driveLi or enthusiasm. This didn’t stop Stigg dancing on a table which was barely able to hold his weight.
I bumped into my Chinese lady friend and she asked my name and told me hers. I just could not  understand what she said it was. The nearest I got was Li and she eventually nodded as if to say “That’s not it, but it’ll do”.  She was from Beijing and with two others had been travelling around the country.  

Sunday dawned sunny and bright and with no tent to pack we were soon ready to hit the road. We would have made a very earlyTear start, but had to wait over half an hour for our breakfast at the burger van. As we sat eating it in the tea tent the three Chinese arrived and the young chap, Tear, took out a strange musical instrument which looked like an inverse steel drum or maybe a turtle shell, and started to play. It was brilliant and he earned himself a huge round of applause from all those in earshot. He told us it was called a Hang and I was surprised to learn its country of origin is Switzerland, having only been invented at the turn of this century. Apparently he had been playing it up in Edinburgh at the Festival.  Hang

We said our goodbyes and had an uneventful drive home. Another great weekend with surprisingly good weather considering the forecasts.

Now, I guess you really must be fed up with my write-ups having done 3 recently, so here’s to the next event and a write up from someone else. Perhaps one of the ladies for a change?  

  Gallery 1      Gallery 2     Peter's Write Up