By Mike Peake.
Well! What a weekend that was! I’m not sure where to start.
Maybe an explanation of the title is in order. It all stems from an altercation with a rather obnoxious woman at the Gloucester Steam fair beautifully described in Gar Cole’s blog of the event.
Her parting comment shouted from behind her tent was to call us “Council house Scumbags”, which says more about her than it does us or indeed council house tenants. Anyway, the name appears to have stuck, so from now on, those members attending meetings, tours and group events shall be known as the “Scumbag division of EBMVBB1985.”
The event itself was enthusiastically and excitedly anticipated for some time. With tales of last minute derring-do (Yes You, Last Minute Liam!) and countdown in number of sleeps in the group forum. This lead to many a slap round the ear from our significant others and being told “You’re like a kid before Christmas! Now grow up”, (or was that just me?)
As you may have gathered, I was very excited about the event. Poppy’s roof was as waterproof as Triumph intended, (it still leaks a bit) and the last minute oil change was completed successfully the weekend before.
In the run-up week, cakes were baked, arctic bedding sourced and Poppy packed to the gunnels. (No. It wasn’t ALL Merlot. There was some cake and camping supplies too….. oh OK, it was mostly Merlot)
Friday morning dawned and we set off at 7.15am. Unfortunately, not straight to Snowdonia as I had to put in 5 of the longest hours I have ever spent in the office. Not a great deal of work was completed as I seemed to spend most of my time gazing wistfully out the window at an anxious-to-go Poppy.
1PM finally turned up and I was off… to My mother-in-laws to pick up the lovingly prepared batch of rock cakes and a hot Cornish pasty for my trip.
Many of us were meeting up with fellow scumbags at various locations around the UK for our trips into Beddgellert , and I was meeting up with Andy Perman in his lovely Vanden Plas Allegro at Frankley services which is where his route from Portsmouth and mine from Royal Wootton Bassett coincided.
Unfortunately, there are major road works at the M5/M6 junction which held us up rather badly but did give me a chance to get a photo whilst we were stationary.
What followed was a fantastic drive up through spectacular mountain scenery including one road somewhere between Lllychwmddllddpilly and Ddypymcwmllmwch which only needed Matt Monroe’s “Days like these” to be playing and we would have been in the Italian Job. Oh and sun. It needed Sun too. (Town names may not be strictly accurate. You don't say! - Ed)
We both arrived safely and were almost the last to arrive at about 7.30PM. it was dark and raining. Fortunately the group had heard our engines as we drove round the campsite 3 or 4 times looking for a group of fools camping in North Wales in October. Young Paul Cheetham was quickly despatched to track us down and guide us in as he was the only member of the group remotely fit enough to run across a muddy field waving madly to attract our attention.
Paul found us and we finally arrived at Scumbag Grotto - all was well. Quick hello’s were said and I went to my fully appointed and pre-erected tent in the style befitting a gentleman of my stature.
As some of the chaps were arriving earlier in the day and I would be arriving after dark, Gar had kindly volunteered to pitch my tent for me and I gratefully accepted.
Imagine my joy when I discovered what a great job they had done. OK, it may have been pitched on a slight 1 in 4 hill … and right next to a railway track… and none of the 4 poles were the right height…. and there was a sizable swamp between my porch door and my sleeping section… and only 3 pegs appeared to be holding…. and the ridge pole was in the wrong place… and there were some bits left over, but they were only the little plastic domes that go on the top of the poles to keep the water out so not that important… but apart from that, it was perfect and I quickly filled it with my necessities.
Home-making complete, I joined the rest of the group to thank them profusely and congratulate them on their outdoor survival skills.
Everyone was assembled within the Fat Controller’s very large and very red Gazebo, which was making its debut appearance for the meet. Inside was like a military field kitchen with Gar resplendent behind the altar containing everything required to feed the 5000 with a choice of his Welsh Cawl or his fine curry. I chose the curry and sat down to savour my first glass of merlot of the weekend. The curry was excellent and extremely welcome after my long day and so was the merlot.
The evening progressed with much jollity, frivolity and fun although we were starting to become concerned as 2 of our members were still missing in action. Scumbag Grotto appeared to have been pitched in some sort of time warp to the 19th century in which no sort of mobile phone signal was able to penetrate. We were to find that this “Bubble” extended across most of the National Park too.
We were therefore unable to contact our AWOL personnel. Some of us had received a garbled text message on the way in from Phil Allin saying he’d broken down but we were a bit incredulous about this as Big Rov NEVER breaks down. Oh … apart from that time after Gloucester ….and that other time when … oh and there was that time that….
We weren’t worried about Last Minute Liam at all as he has a track record for midnight arrivals!
Big Rov eventually appeared on the back of an AA low loader along with Phil and his luxury caravan and Liam, Finley, Liam’s son and Helen, Liam’s long, long suffering partner, arrived not long after. Despite the lateness of the hour our glorious Fat Controller put his pinny back on and disappeared behind the Altar of Provision to fuss about like a mother hen to feed these wayward members of his brood.
We soon reverted to our jollity, frivolity and fun broken briefly, when Phil remembered that the last thing he’d told Loraine was that he was coming home on a low loader and now didn’t have a phone signal to tell her he wasn’t. We were all extremely concerned at his omission and hardly laughed at all.
However, those of our members electing to stay at posh hotels instead of Scumbag Grotto had wifi and agreed to let Loraine know for him. They were immediately bombarded by requests from the rest of us who wanted to let our loving wives know we were safe too in case they didn’t let us out to play next time.
The party broke up at some point and we all retired to our various accommodation’s to sleep and prepare for our big day and first tour on the morrow.
To be continued…
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