2012 Header
A Tonna Rain
What's that you say? Hell has just frozen over". You'll have to do better than that to get me to return to what must be the wettest place in the British Isles.   With our usual childish excitement, Jen and myself prepared for our first rally of 2014. Notwithstanding the two washouts of last year we both agreed it could only get better. We really ought to get ourselves a different crystal ball!  

Met up with Sue, Ed and the crew at a wet Leigh Delamare and made our way down the inside channel of the M4 Viaduct, the crew getting wet and us hoping it would all end shortly. The rain did ease off long enough for the last few miles and was kind enough while we pitched our tents.  
The usual tent pitching entertainment ensued with myself and the ever patient Jen trying our best to raise the brand new Chez Custance out of a partly waterlogged Welsh rugby field. 'F**k camping, 'I hate f***ing camping', 'I am never f***ing camping again', you know, the fairly usual fare from me when I see a field and realise the game's up and I've actually got to do something.  So big thanks to John, Sarah, Ed, Sue, Bob, Julie, Keith, Barry and just about the rest of Centre 12 for either working out how our simple tunnel tent should go (three poles, that's all, I kid you not) or, supervising from a safe distance. Still, it wouldn't be the same would it if I just got on with it myself.  

Tent up, camp beds (posh, I know) put together by just my own hands and relaxing was the order of the afternoon. Until the rain came. At that point, the spectacular view of the valleys was beginning to be a fading memory and that was how it stayed really, until we put our hands up, waved the white flag and buggered off home.  
Friday night in the clubhouse and we were entertained by a band of primary school children who looked no older than 8. Having said that, if they were, then the licensing laws are very lax in Tonna Rugby Club.  For a group of kids they made a good racket, so much so, a few ears were bleeding by the end of the night. Seriously, they had potential.   The intervening 24 hours was made up of watching the rain, going into Neath and watching the rain and coming back to the tent to watch (you've guessed it), a little more rain. 

Saturday arrives, and no, the sun didn't have it's hat on, it had a f***ing sou'wester!! Now Neath on a wet Saturday is a beauty to behold.  Walking into the nearest Wetherspoons we are caught by what is obviously a local tradition. 'A bottle of your cheapest red wine' one of the local young boys ordered. 'Barmaid: 'Is he going to neck it in one?' 'Oh yes', 'well if he's sick, he can mop it up himself'. We didn't bother to watch the following mayhem.
Neath market was quite quaint, well it would have been in 1950, the 21st century seems to have passed this part of Wales by. Gingham curtains seem to be all the rage in the Valleys.  

Saturday night proved to be amusing. A jiving competition happened and the best dress award went to a guy from Centre transvestite in a lovely polka dot number. The band did their first set, standard rock, usual stuff but the highlight of the night was one of Centre 7 having his head shaved for a local kids charity. 200 odd quid was raised and a laugh was had by all. Not sure about all the politics that go on in this lovely club of ours but 'He's a Wanker' was played and loudly sung by the Welsh boys and apparently it was aimed at one of our top table and was followed by a little speech 'Sorry about the weather but God and Mr K aren't here this weekend' Ouch!!

By now the rugby pitch was looking like a bad day at Glastonbury and by the time we got back to our tent, the water was coming over the top of our wellies. Slight exaggeration but you get the picture. The night was spent listening to the rain, Bob, Simon, Barry and well, basically, the rest of the camp site snoring.
For 90 seconds at about 5 o'clock, the rain stopped only to be followed by the heaviest downpour of the weekend. At least it drowned out (no pun intended) the snoring. Our collective minds were made up, you could have too much of a good thing.   So, the usual round up: Frank, you actually have to join the club to get in at rallies (the diesel award, no competition), and I'm not going to tell you why he should get it two months running. The rest of you, thanks for making hell on earth just a little more bearable, great laughs and a gold star to Julie for keeping her cool (just) when the Chinese order came back minus a few items and plus a few others.

Pip pip, until the next one.  Tel