By Mike Peake
Sometime in the wee small hours of Saturday morning (as Eric would say), Armageddon happened. The heavens opened and we were all woken by the noise of the rain beating on van roofs and canvas. Some were woken by it dripping on our faces. Somehow though, we all managed to roll over and go back to sleep (or was that just me again?).
It would also appear that my airbed was gradually deflating overnight and I was awoken at the uncommonly early hour of 6.30AM to the sensation of running aground. Feeling fully refreshed and not in the slightest hung over in any way I leapt out of bed singing a verse of “Oh what a Beautiful morning”. I stepped from my sleeping quarters straight into the swamp outside my bedroom door and sank in up to my knees. I pulled myself out after a while and staggered over to the rest of the group standing glumly around a picture of devastation shrouded in grey misty rain.
It was only when I shouted “Oh my gods! The cake and alcohol are in there!” that everyone came out of their daze. A rescue party was established and regardless of their own safety, battled their way through canvas, plastic and aluminium to retrieve these essential supplies. Fortunately, there were no serious casualties and we were all much relieved when the rescue team reappeared clutching cake, merlot, beer and whiskey.
After we’d calmed down from our shock, Gus called out that he was putting on the BBQ for breakfast and promptly disappeared under the small mountain of bacon and sausages that were thrown at him for cooking. At one stage, it looked like it would rival Snowdon itself. Unperturbed, our Gus kindly ploughed through cooking the various derivatives of pig and didn’t even get cross as scumbags gathered round and said, “can I have mine crispy?”, Is that smoked? I don’t like smoked, “Can you put these pretend sausages on for Helen?”, “Is it ready yet?” “That’s the wrong shaped bread roll for sausages” etc. Needless to say, breakfast was up to Gus’s normal standards and we were all stuffed to the gills. Except young Paul who seemed content with a coffee and some banana peels to smoke.
By now, the hotel people had returned to Scumbag Grotto and we were thinking about leaving for the tour when a forlorn voice popped up and said, “But Big Rov is fallen and I really wanted to drive.”
Everyone was busy looking at the floor, each other, the trees. Anywhere but at Phil and muttering “ermmm…”, “well, don’t really….”, “Ho hum…” and no one noticed our Gus sneak off to his camper van. I did though. The van shuddered and shook for a bit and some strange noises issued forth until, with a crash, the back doors were flung open and there stood, in a suitably heroic pose, SUPER ENTHUSIAST MAN! Resplendent in his cloak and his Y fronts on over his boiler suit.
With a single mighty bound, Super Enthusiast Man leapt from the camper, across tall tents and landed next to Big Rov. He proceeded to grill Phil as to the exact nature of the fault causing Phil to whimper “errrmmm, it’s got no electrickery?” Super Enthusiast Man whipped out his probe and proceeded to multi meter the heck out of Big Rov.
After an hour or so of probing and a couple of false starts involving spare wire, the fault was narrowed down to the ignition switch. Super Enthusiast Man was about to strip it when he noticed an errant wire dangling behind the dash. You see, when Phil changed the brake light switch last week, it looks like he may have inadvertently knocked this wire a bit loose and over the next few miles it had worked its way completely off. I am so glad I am not the only bumbling, incompetent fool when it comes to our cars! The wire was reconnected and Big Rov was back in action. Super Enthusiast Man quietly slipped away without anyone noticing.
Right! We off then? Err no. Not yet. Our Glorious Fat Controller wanted a quick morning briefing. “Have we all printed off the routes that have been available on the website for the last six months?” We all looked around guiltily. “So you’ve memorised them?” We were now looking anywhere but at Gar and shuffling our feet sheepishly. With a deep sigh, Gar gave us the day’s route and instructions that we will all wait at the checkpoints until everyone came in and that there was no need to all follow in one convoy if the faster ones wanted to shoot off. We all listened intently and then we all decided to follow Gar in one long convoy.
Now it was time for the off so we started our Engines. Well, most of us did. However, Young Paul’s rusty Mini… oh no, wait. I mean Young Paul’s Mini, Rusty was a bit reluctant but did fire up in the end and made it all the way to the campsite main entrance. Rusty then vomited all over the track. A nasty mixture of petrol and oil. So poor Rusty was pushed into a parking space to be dealt with later and young Paul was told to pick a car to be a passenger in.
Now we really were off. 12 cars left on the Convoy. So let me introduce everybody.
Hover over pic for captions.
We headed off into the Welsh Wales mountains and the very wet Welsh Wales rain for a surprisingly trouble-free tour on the mountain section of our weekend. The roads were fantastic and absolutely perfect for classic car driving. Surprisingly, I don’t recall any further breakdowns either. It was just a great day pootling through some stunning mountain scenery.
Just a shame that it wasn’t visible through all the Welsh Mist and rain. However, it bought back so many memories of my childhood holiday here. Peering out of my Dad’s rain misted Mk 3 Cortina windows or standing under a tree in my kagool with the misty rain dripping off my nose. Ah, those were the days.
We did however have plenty of stops for photo opportunities and young Paul did a fantastic job leaning out of Eric’s windows and sunroof to take some of the best photos seen in the group. However, we did manage to leave last minute Liam at the café by mistake but he soon caught up.
The day ended with a very nice meal and a few real ales in the local pub - a warm and dry local pub! Friendships made during the day were cemented over pie, chips and beer and a lovely evening was had by all. Especially Gus. You silver fox you!
Actually, saying I had pie and chips doesn’t really do it justice. It was gastro pub pie and chips, so quite posh. However, they forgot to take the chips out of the fryer baskets before serving them.
Well I say the day ended, but when we got back to Scumbag Grotto, we realised we needed to resurrect the gazebo which was done surprisingly quickly but with much speculation about the cause of the collapse. The general consensus was the weight of the rain collecting in the roof. I’m still convinced Farty Woodward had too much of Gar’s curry though.
It was almost time for bed but not before sharing a nightcap in the repaired Gazebo and Tosh stuffing FinlEy with highly sugared sweets to encourage his funny stories which mainly featured poo. The look of panic on Helen’s face was quite a picture as she hadn’t been allowed to vet the stories 1st and didn’t know what was coming. The look of panic on Liam’s face at the thought of a little boy pumped full of sugar at midnight was also a picture!
Finally, we all went to our various accommodations. I successfully avoided drowning in my pet swamp, pumped my bed back up and was soon in the land of nod and dreaming about the day’s driving and the coastal tour to follow.
Considering we’d had a solid 14 hours of that particular Welsh rain which seams wetter than any other rain, we’d all had the best of days!
To be continued….
Special thanks to Sophie Peake for her photoshop skills
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