or "Carry on Crich 2016" or "Several fat blokes frolicking in a field"
by Mike Peake
The day was finally here. Poppy was ready for another epic adventure and so was I. Cakes had been baked, camping equipment checked, weather forecast checked, (Oh dear, put more sleeping bags and blankets in.) Music loaded onto smart phone, torch app loaded onto smart phone and satnav loaded onto smart phone with adequate space on smart phone for all the photos I’m going to take.
Wonderful bits of kit aren’t they? Well, no they’re not actually. My daughters cast off smart phone that I’ve been using for a year or so, suddenly decided that it would choose this moment to fall off its perch and go to meet its maker. Not to be deterred I went in search of individual pieces of tech to fill these roles. So, a torch, a cd player, a satnav, a camera and an actual phone for making phone calls was added to the already Himalayan size mountain of gear that I was going to have to fit into Poppy along with a Fatbloke.
So, the life-size game of Tetris began. Everything was squashed, squeezed, shoehorned, levered and pressed into my little car, filling the boot and the entire back seat, but leaving time to spare for a spot of lunch a shower and a shave and change into my jacket and trousers. A gentleman must look his best at all times after all.
Looking rather cool in my jacket and shades I pulled off my drive and headed oop north, a long way oop north. I’d planned a non-motorway route and had a lovely time driving the green lanes up through Stow, Morton-in-the-Marsh, Halford and so on, until my 1st rendezvous point at Bassett’s Pole. Here I met with Gar Cole and the smallest actual caravan I’ve ever seen. A few minutes were taken to shake hands, have a quick chat and stretch legs, before we set off on the next short leg to meet up with the legend and organiser of the event that is Paul Cheetham.
As gentlemen do, Gar and I had chosen to meet at (for the purposes of this blog) an elegant country hostelry with consideration for Gar parking his caravan. Paul, on the other hand, had chosen a McDonalds car park. I shall leave you to draw your own conclusions as to what character traits this may reveal, but I was beginning to wonder whether he might be one of those young hooligans one hears so much about these days.
Paul arrived in his lovely blue mini and we set off again for the final leg through the rugged and rather hilly Derbyshire countryside to our final destination. Yes, a field on top of a large hill. We pulled onto the field to a chorus of “Oh Look!” from the Brooks family who were already impressively ensconced in their “circled wagon” fortified camp.
After hasty introductions and more handshaking, Gar and I set off to pitch camp. Well, all Gar had to do was unhitch and put the legs down. He carefully unhitched and drove the car forward. It was at this point that the very loud bang alerted Gar and the whole camp site that he had forgotten to unfasten the breakaway cable. You’ll all be pleased to know though, that it performed it’s task faultlessly as the caravans brakes were deployed shortly before the cable snapped as it should.
Gar continued with his setting up whilst looking rather sheepish and the rest of us continued our own tasks with the added feeling of smugness that goes along with the wonderful feeling that we aren’t alone in our moments of bumbling incompetence.
My home from home took a little longer to set up partly because I had to spend time stroking Poppy’s fins and thanking her for getting me all the way there without any dramas, but mainly because putting up a 30 year old ridge tent that hasn’t been touched for 10 years, isn’t as easy as I thought it would be. Eventually though, all was complete.
I would like to take this opportunity to point out that my pitch for this superb gentleman’s abode, was chosen with great care and wisdom, taking into account such things as prevailing wind, flatness of pitch, position on the hill to avoid bogginess, lack of ants nests etc. It was NOT the naughty corner as some of you so rudely called it!
With us all set up it was time for lengthier introductions. We all gathered in the centre of the Brooks family’s circled wagon train with the Thompsons . The evening progressed and our offerings of meat were expertly BBQ’d by Gus Brooks while the rest of us made motivational speeches, sang inspirational songs round the campfire and held lengthy intellectual, philosophical, discussions whist drinking pure water from the crystalline mountain spring running by the camp.
It was some time after sunset when we were joined by Liam White and his family. Guided onto the field by torchlight they parked up. Liam opened the door of his lovely Granada and fell to his knees clutching his chest and wailing “Oh pity us fellow travellers. We have journeyed far and into the night and it is now too dark to erect our 8 man tent that we’ve never put up before and don’t have any instructions! Won’t someone have a heart and help us in our plight?”
With that, a wondrous light shone forth from the heavens and whilst we gazed on in awe, a majestic voice rang out across the hill. “Fear not, Enthusiasts of British Motor Vehicles Built Before 1985! For I am the god of all things automotive. You have worshipped me with dedication in garages and on driveways, on verges and at the side of the road. Did you really think I would leave you exposed and freezing on this, most special of all nights, Crichmass Eve?..….Behold!...” and in a flash of green, a cosy little shelter miraculously appeared complete with its own water supply. With that, the heavenly light abruptly switched off…Then it switched back on and the voice rang out again “By the way, what idiot came up with such a ridiculously long name? Can’t you shorten it or something?” and the light went out again.
We all retired to bed with hearts filled with wonder and faces aglow with joy.
Next time - the day of the Show
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