Organised by Sorcerers MCC - Tenth (& Last) 1995
As this was the last Walpurgis rally there was a commemorative pint glass. This would have been fine and a nice gesture, but the ticket price was hiked up to £9 to pay for it. I would have preferred to be given the option, but I can't really complain, as it is a nice strong item, and should last a fair while.
I was not so fortunate as I have been with rallies recently, and had to work Friday. Not only that but I had to work until 7:30pm, and had to go into work Saturday morning, so I took the bike to work fully loaded and went to the rally straight from there.
When I say 'my bike' I am referring to my new bike, a Kawasaki EN500, which used to be Mandy's. I agreed to buy it from her after I crashed it recently. It would have cost the same to have it repaired, but this way I have a spare bike after paying out the money.
Having less luggage space than I have got used to meant I had to take my smaller tent, (which I hadn't used for a few years, since I repaired it after storm damage on Shetland), and even then I had less room to sit. At least I was able to complete my full attendance at this; probably the closest rally to me. Ninety minutes after leaving work, my tent was set up, my airbed inflated, (there's decadence for you!), and I was in the marquee talking to old friends.
Unwisely, as I was a bit hungry, I decided to try a cheeseburger in the catering tent. This consisted of some grated cheese sprinkled on top of what seemed to be a 'loft insulation' burger, while the outside had been cooked to a brown crispy finish, the inside was still pink and almost raw. Later I tried a bacon sandwich, as I was sure they couldn't mess that up. Wrong! The bacon was so stringy it was almost inedible.
The beer was something called 'Nethergate Wallop' which several people commented on unfavourably, but I had my Pepsi, so I wasn't worried. These things apart the evening went off fairly well, despite the band, which the DJ described as "the best band ever to appear in the ten years of this rally". They were RUBBISH! The best part of their turn was when they played 'Delilah', (relying on the Alex Harvey Band version rather than the Tom Jones one). The rest of the time they seemed to be unsure of which key the songs should have been played in! It was singing (shouting?) along to the aforementioned song that may have caused my throat problems for the next few days.
Dewi Witcombe brought Mark Nolan along for the evening as a sort of 'stag night' as Mark was getting married the next week. Later, with a little help from myself, Mac and Neville, he was tied to the centre marquee pole, debagged, and soaked with beer, (and got propositioned by a couple of young ladies into the bargain - needless to say he didn't take them up on their offer), but at least he escaped the eggs that were used on first-timers on Saturday night.
The party carried on through to the early hours although Dewi took Mark home well before then, (I wonder how he explained away his wet trousers?).
I went to bed about 2am, just as the rain started, only allowing myself four hours sleep before I had to go to work.
I awoke Saturday morning to the gentle drumming of water on nylon - yes it was still raining. I noticed that, although the fabric of the tent had withstood the passing of the years, the same could not be said of the waterproofing. The flysheet was letting a little water through, but the inner was, for now, holding it.
I pulled on my wet weather gear, (never travel without it), and ventured forth, pausing only to repeg my flysheet, to assist with keeping the rain out.
I spent seven hours at work, managing to grab a couple of minutes sleep here and there, before heading back. At least the rain gave up while I was away. When I got back I found a very small puddle in my tent. Neville had not been so fortunate, and almost had to swim out of his when he got up. He decided enough was enough, packed up and went home later in the afternoon.
Soon the silly games started, but the only one that sticks in the memory is the bungee-pull. The women's and men's competitions were won by Babs and Bowser from Ogri MCC, they were both declared winners when they each managed to snap the bungee rope, and both were limping around for the rest of the day, each having been hit by the recoiling rope.
I went back to my tent later to catch up with some serious snoring, then suitably refreshed, returned to the marquee. I was getting a bit hungry again, this time I thought I would risk a jacket spud. They could have made helmets out of those jackets! But the contents were decidedly more edible than those burgers!
In the evening the partying started again in earnest, Mac disappeared early and I discovered later when I went to bed that he had packed up and gone home also. The band were even worse than Friday night's, and made up for this by playing very loud. They sounded a lot better from the sanctuary of the food tent, where a lot of people ended up, (this was twice its usual size this year - they must have been expecting the exodus).
In the interval between the band's noise the organisers presented the various awards, including 'Club Aggregate Mileage' which went to some guys from Belgium, one of which decided to make an acceptance speech. Unfortunately he was so drunk none of it made sense in any language. There was a bit of an argument about the long distance award, and I don't think we were ever told who actually won that.
After the band finally finished the DJ started playing some decent music again, including a certain record by the Alex Harvey Band - yes, you've guessed it - Delilah, followed by my voice getting even more hoarse. Dewi, who had returned for the evening's festivities, (although without Mark this time), had had enough by about 11:30, (I think), and left while thing were still quite lively.
Over the next couple of hours the volume of the disco seemed to creep up and up, not that anybody around seemed to care. Later, after about 1am, the DJ claimed that he had been asked to "turn the volume down or switch it off", I personally think he just wanted to get home, but he kept annoying us by stopping records part way through and demand that we sing louder to make up for the lower volume. If he had been asked to turn it down, he could have done so gradually without anybody noticing, or even caring, and carried on for some time. As it was, after about 1:30am one of the organisers had to pull the plug, and shut him down. (But not before he had played Delilah again - croak, croak).
After a cup of coffee I decided it was time to hit the sack.
Sunday morning arrived unusually bright and sunny, I was so relaxed I even bought breakfast - my last mistake, it seemed to contain all that was uneatable from the kitchen, I threw half of it away.
I had a plan, of which the breakfast was only a part, I had decided to go back to work, get there before my colleague, tell him not to bother coming in and collect the several hours overtime for myself. Unfortunately, even though I got there earlier than I thought necessary, he beat me to it, so I had to go home. Hey ho! I made good use of my unexpectedly free afternoon though - bandage the Kwak's exhaust to get it through the MOT. (It worked!)
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley