Successor to the Walpurgis Rally - only one held.
It was about 4pm when I turned up. Not many people were there, but that is the way things are going these days - people (with jobs) are less prepared to leave work early just for a rally - previously about two-thirds of attendees would arrive on Friday afternoons.
One group that was there was my old club Telstar BC from Guildford, so I set up my tent next to them. After a while they decided to go off in search of a chippy - having sampled the food last year this seemed perfectly reasonable. The rest of the afternoon was spent wandering around chatting to people I hadn't seen since last year, and generally loafing around. Even ex-WMA-member Vicki Burch turned up, she had only heard of the rally a couple of days earlier.
Feeling a bit peckish, I decided to live dangerously and try one of the jacket potatoes. Last year these seemed to have been given a Kevlar coating, but this time they had used the proper cooker and they were quite edible, (but I still avoided the leather-look burgers and the rubber eggs).
When it finally started getting dark the disco started up, and the partying began. A lot more people than usual were climbing up the poles, but the proportion of those that removed clothing while up there was about the same. Later on, upon our insistence, the disco did play 'Delilah' again this year and, it had the same effect on my throat.
During the evening it was obvious that the battery in my camera had just about had it. I decided that, as I lived so close, I would pop home in the morning to get my spare, having forgotten to pack it as I used to. I put this down to being out of practice, as my last rally was in October. I decided to crash out before the disco shut down, at about 1am.
The night was quite cold, but there was a bonfire not too far from my tent, which I stood by for a short while. Bonfires are usually banned at rallies, due to the grass being burnt, making it unsuitable for grazing cattle, or whatever the field is usually used for when it is not being hired out for people like us. This site has special fire shelters, with concrete floors and corrugated iron roofs, where bonfires are allowed, providing you only use dead branches etc. from the surrounding woodland.
Saturday started off as warm as Friday, but it didn't cloud over in the afternoon. In fact it was so hot my quick trip home & back was completed with my jacket safely in my pannier.
Later on Mac turned up, and having asked me where I was camping, then promptly set up on the other side of the field! (He said it was where some of his MAG friends were camped, but I can't help feeling paranoid!)
Later still Nev arrived and, not being worried about whatever-it-was, set up his little tent next to mine. (Good job it didn't rain - his tent didn't look all that sturdy!).
Surprisingly there were no games this year, but nobody seemed to mind, they were content with drinking and sitting around in the hot sunny afternoon we were having.
Around this time the band for the night arrived and was setting up, the same lot as last year - the Hard Cheese Boogie Band. The disco got going as soon as it started getting dark, and even more people attempted to climb the poles and strip off. One guy hit upon the idea of taking all his clothes off before going up - it's too painful to even think about splinters. At one point there were at least four of us playing with laser pointers - it was interesting to see the different exterior designs the manufacturers chose.
The evening wore on and the band came on. This year they were much better, with only the occasional bum note - they may even have been practising! There was a break in their performance for the presentation of awards - I didn't win anything (again), nor did WMA, (we could never beat MAG for club turnout, but we could at least make the effort now and then!)
Then out came the call for any first-timers to come to the stage. There were only a few, but they got well and truly soaked with the buckets of water and beer prepared for them. Then the band carried on, and even managed 'Delilah' without too many outrages, apart from the odd mistake in the lyrics.
After the band packed away the disco was back again, and due to the warped sense of humour of the DJ, there were a couple of strange record choices that got played, including 'Nellie the Elephant' and the Seven Dwarves' song 'Hi Ho, Hi Ho it's off to work we go'. This last one resulted in a line of people marching around the marquee on their knees - what people will do when suitably drunk!
By about 1am I was well and truly knackered so, pausing only to buy one last jacket potato, (and it was their last one as well), I made my way over to the bonfire, and then to bed.
I was a little annoyed when I heard the strains of another of my favourite records 'Jig-a-Jig' by 'East of Eden' drifting across the field, but by this point I was more interested in examining the inside of my eyelids.
The morning dawned, as they so often do, with only a little cloud to shade us from the still-hot sun, but the wind had got up a fair bit, which made packing the tent up a little 'interesting'. I kicked Neville awake about 10 or 11ish, (but he maintains he was awake already - just resting), and noticed that MAC had already gone.
Neville and I had a little discussion about the wearing of jackets on hot days, (he is strongly in favour of wearing them come what may). Although I can see his point I will still go without, if I decide the situation merits it. This said, I did wear it for the trip home, but this was mainly a case of limited luggage space on the bike.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley