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Pegs, Pies, Porkies and Pants.
After the optimistic forecasts earlier in the week it was disappointing to awake on Friday to find wet gear would be needed, and although damp, I enjoyed the brisk ride up to Cherwell Valley to meet with the rest of the crew. However, the pleasant temperature combined with the humidity played havoc with my visor, which normally would not be a problem, but it seems the rachet mechanism was having a day off. I did not want to be riding the next 100 miles one handed holding the visor open a tad, so a bit of ingenuity was called for. Help came in the form of a clothes peg. Clipped to the visor, it prevented a total closure and allowed a nice flow of air to give a clear view of the road and rain. It also provided a steady stream of water to my chin.

At the services, access to and from the Smoking Area was hampered by automatic doors which would let you out, but not back in. Great fun was had watching people try various methods of persuading the door to open, including one woman who karate kicked it. Very impressive, but equally ineffective. We, being robust healthy bikers vaulted the barrier. ( by stepping on a chair, sitting on the barrier, swivelling, then sliding off the other side ! ) 

We set off in convoy with the Two Wheelers followed by the Trailer Trash and finally the Support Vehicle Prospects.  The progress was very slow with Baz's Sat Nav recording a fastest speed en route of 63 MPH.  The torrential rain, the walls of spray and the occasional gusty blast of wind made even that speed hard for the TT to keep up and we soon got separated.  At the last Rally I was short of tent pegs, so this time I packed more. However at one point during a particularly heavy downpour I wondered if perhaps a mooring buoy might be of more use.
As we got near to the site I swear I saw a chink of blue sky in the intimidating dark armour of the cloud. This was my cue to raise my visor for some fresh air, and in the process, as I discovered later, pegged Chris !

On arrival at the camp our first duty was to point out the organisers were in distress!  The Union Flag which adorned the back wall of the Reception Tent was upside down !!!
We were afforded the luxury of pitching our tents in the dry, but very shortly after the rain returned. Food was in short supply as a power outage had crippled the club house, but Real Ale was in plentiful supply and we (well me mostly) needed little encouragement to quality test some.  The Factory Outlet Shop on site  was well stocked with Mr Kipling Cakes, so starvation was averted.

Eventually food came on line and I rather fancied the Steak and Ale Pie and Chips. It was a fair sized meal, well priced and served bizarrely with the pie upside down. With hindsight I think that was to disguise the fact that it was barely cooked and the crust was as soggy as the bottom. I ate very little. I drank a lot. The band Gypsie was brilliant.  Old friends were caught up with, new friends made, virtual Facebook Friends held real conversations and all too soon it was time to return to the tents.  It was cold during the night, but a heavy leather jacket acting as ballast for the sleeping bag, did the trick.

Saturday dawned a much brighter day and after a BBQ Bacon Bap, (yet another power outage in the kitchen) we set off to surprise Chris' Mum and Dad with a noisy visit. This was followed by a trip to Ironbridge where Baz tried to blag it as a tour guide, telling bigger and bigger lies as time went on.
Some of us found a great little Cafe where some proper food was consumed along with coffees and milk shakes. I was the sole tea drinker and Sue immediately had a severe case of teapot envy and in no time was shelling out on one to take home.

On returning to the bikes it was decided some would ride to Newcastle under Lyme to the massive bike store there, whilst Baz, Phil and I returned to base, Baz for the Centre Reps meeting and I was expecting John and Sandra Harris to arrive for the afternoon / evening. As we approached the entry to the Rally Site Baz waived the Marshalls out of his way and continued along the country lane. I guessed he was off to play, taking advantage of the twisty lane the site was on. I didn't follow him though, just in case he had another reason to be leaving us. As it happens he was playing and I missed out on the fun.  Back at camp and in anticipation of the Harris's arrival, I ordered up the beers in the Ale Tent and waited. They didn't arrive and it would have been a pity to waste the drink.

Phil and Lyndy booked SpellBound airbrushing to their leathers and Keith wore his lucky, pharmaceutically enhanced pants.
The food was better Saturday evening, with a rather tasty sausage hot pot, filling a hole whilst I ducked a barrage of beer mats, caught in the crossfire between Kevin Hoyte and what seemed like the entire membership. The band had big shoes to fill after Friday night's and after a couple of numbers I wandered outside where it was still sunny. Beers were traded, the conversation flowed, and suddenly John Harris rumbled in on his Royal Star. More beers were bought and the reminiscing continued.
Once John had left a visit to the BBQ was needed along with another trip to the Beer Tent where I was informed my favourite tipple had all gone !!!!!   Beerless I returned to the tents and invoking the ten second rule, sat on what in the gloom of the night, looked like a normal camping chair. It wasn't. It was either a poorly designed and frankly dangerous chair, or one which had been sabotaged. I know this because as I settled in to enjoy my burger I was suddenly catapulted over the right hand side of the chair to the ground whilst my burger sailed throughThe evil chair the air in the other direction. It was, I admit, very funny.   Bob, I guess, feeling guilty that his chair was the cause of my discomfort lent a hand to get me on my feet, but Boots intervened saying that he hadn't yet taken a photo, so I was ceremoniously dumped back on the ground ! Picture taken and uploaded to FaceBook before I could even get back up.  Thanks guys !

The ride home, which was pleasant and dry, was a re-run of the trip down with the TT unable to manage a steady 55 - 60 mph. By the time they arrived at Cherwell Valley I had consumed my Fresh Cream Apple Turnover and Tea, so I waved my goodbye and set off for the final leg of my journey home and the recorded F1 British Grand Prix.

What a great weekend I had. I am so lucky to have so many truely brilliant friends, even if they are sometimes trecherous !  LOL!   Roll on the next one .......  mmmm perhaps not the best expression.

John