Bunkhouse Weekend: Report

judge

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So here we are, the morning after the weekend before and am I relieved I don't have to get up and rush off to work today!

Friday night and by 10PM those who were going to arrive had arrived with 'Corrie Boy' (HairCut100) bringing up the rear after his jaunt down from Manc.

Earlier I set out with a troop of GS's for a visit to Faversham tesco to obtain the necessaries for our 'at home' evening. Large trolley for beer, small trolley for food :D Between the four bikes we managed to get the grog with the Marrakesh leading the way with four cases of beer on board. Mick_rw being from Andover and despite owning having his GS for a few weeks has already had work done to refit it as a delivery vehicle a la Bake's bike (a local colloquialism maybe?) and manage to take the grub, Dave & Val held on tight to the cider & alcopop's leaving Notadrop only sporting MBW panniers room enough for his weekend supply of fags.

On our return most had arrived and were up in the dorms fiercely protecting their chosen bunk from any new arrivals but with the garlic bread and pizza vapours rising up through the floor boards from the kitchen we were able to temp them down soon enough. With food cooked and consumed, the Guinness which 'no one would drink' disappeared fast and Dave Reynolds and Mr Tickle worked their way through an EU cider lake between them, an evening and then a night of talking bollox ensued. I believe it may have gone on until about 2 or so but I had long departed for my bed as the days start early enough when you are the executive chef as well as host.

Saturday 0645... the alarm clock brings my slumber to an end, my Sous Chef (Notadrop) went down first to light the ovens and a fag, closely followed by the Commis Chef (Bakes) to make tea, and in the natural order of things I arrived to drink my tea and demonstrate my catering abilities to my assistants. Table set and by 0830 hrs full English had been served and consumed by 15.

After breakfast an impromptu meeting of ride out leaders and myself took place. The minutes of the meeting went something like.

Me: How many ride outs have we?
Pat: one
Me: Will there be anything for the off-road?
Pat: Ah well loike, we might take off for a look at the Pilgrim's Way but no bother so.
Me: Er right OK. Here's the maps of the area.
Pat: Ah right so. (Puts maps directly into tank bag with not so much as a blink or a page unfolded).
Me: Anything else?
Ritchie: I'll do tail end Charlie.

Meeting closed.

Contd.
 
Saturday Contd.

I've never been on a ride out with Pat but I've heard lots from those that have, suffice to say the given title of Creagh's Magical Mystery tour was deadly accurate. So with all the bikes de-frosted and loaded up we headed off for our ride on a bright sunny but crisp morning.

The first warning sign of what was about to ensue us didn't take long, as we headed into Chilham I was first bike behind the ride leader and I find myself at an intersection of road, round to the left a no through road, or a right turn into the village. I stop and mark the right turn into the village and direct all but two of the bikes off route. Much massaging of mobiles to ears ensued and Pat comes to get us and take us back down the no through road I'd mistaking assumed was the wrong way, not being a TRF member and an avid 'tyres for tarmac' kind of guy it was for me the obvious (but sadly wrong) choice.

By now we'd lost valuable time and Pat ignited the turbo on his jet fuelled GS and tore off up the lane with everyone else in tow, coming the other way was a startled old girl in her Micra (or some other suitably crap super-mini) who motioned to me to stop, sadly I was on the PD and try as I might even if I had wanted to I wouldn't have been able to stop within earshot so I left her to Uncle Albert!

On arrival at the end of the lane I now realise my error, for we were at the Pilgrim's Way and before us was a nice wide and flat track. Pat was already now in silver tongued charmer mode telling all who would be foolish enough to listen about how this would be a gentle little hop and a skip and easily GS'able, "ah sure lad's it'll be like riding your bike across the driveway of your house so it will" and other such words of encouragement and positive spin.

Well it worked and all but one bike which needed erm..... fuel set off after Pat for this gentle excursion. Gentle excursion my arse!! What started out a gentle amble was soon ruts, soft mud, rocky down hill with sharp turns thrown in and all this for many off-road virgins including me!!

Thankfully Ritchie being a seasoned trail rider gave me three tips, keep it in 1st gear, leave the front brake alone and leave the clutch out, sound advice all told and at the first sign of trouble I’m on the front brake, clutch in and my style was a little unorthodox, still it stayed upright and the Zega’s did a job on more than one occasion for me I’m sure. The other advantage being on the PD is that yanking the front brake has little or no effect anyway or maybe I have found a situation when the shite brakes on the PD are even too strong, still front wheel slides are fun aren’t they?!!

Having followed stories and picked up tips I was able to help out when the problems arose, sadly mainly for Mick_rw but by the end he was expert in righting his GS and I’m so glad I was on the PD as the hack has no engine bars as yet and I’d imagine I’d have struggled too with that lump!

By the end of our little excursion which seemed to last forever we had lost the main group so set off for Jim Cray’s already behind schedule, still have GPS it seems and arrive BEFORE the other group due to Lloyd suffering a puncture on the M20 and deciding to opt for MBW assist rather than the offered DIY solutions!!

Once the main group arrived at Jim’s workshop, T&C consumed we were off to Ernie’s workshop on the delightful Island of Sheppey in the coastal resort of Sheerness (nice!!). Though to a stranger there’s little to choose between Sittingbourne & Sheerness Industrial estates.

Ernie lay on a veritable feast of prepped bikes with enough extra ironwork to see any overlander through the worst this world could throw at it. You’d have to get into serious trouble to come unstuck with Ernie’s gear and then I’m sure the weak point would be the bikes themselves. Thankfully we just about outnumbered his airhead collection but there was plenty there for people to see and well worth the visit over to the workshop.

Pat found a pub on the middle of a Sheerness housing estate in which to catch the second half of the rugby. Landlord friendly enough but he gave the wrong answer to the question “got any food on?” so no sooner had the whistle blown than we were off to Herne Bay for some fish & chips and after a brisk ride back to the bunkhouse for a rest, the calm before the storm of a night out in Kent with the piss heads.

Our farm host Maggie ferried us down to The Three Horseshoes and by the time I arrived in the 3rd trip the serious drinkers were already well tucked in to the getting lashed stakes, the Late Red was finished, the Spitfire soon after, closely followed by the Master Brew, meaning by the time the bottles of Bishops Finger were on the go, no pun was missed and rings were kissed and fingers turned to f…. err I think I’ll stop there and let your imagination take over.

Uncle Albert who by his own standards had been a bit quiet on the Friday was now on full throttle and pole dancing, lewd and crude suggestions to one or two and then finally being manhandled out of the pub by the landlady at final orders was it seems just a prelude for later.

Back at the ranch much consumption of finest Kent ale and a brisk intake of fresh Kent air had fired a few more into life and the Bunkhouse cabaret was well and truly on, Uncle Albert did a solo of the Winky Wankie birdie song then was joined in the singing stakes by Dave Reynolds with a cute little duet of Swing Low Sweet Chariot (complete with erm… sign language), some David Blaine-esque conjuring by Bev (which understandably no one understood, table dancing by Fritz and then the crudest song of the night award went to ex un-able Seamen Lloyd Davies (yes the same quiet, Telegraph reading, quintessentially Englishman) with the A-Z song which was not for the gentler souls amongst us, and definitely not one learnt in the officer’s mess.

With cries of ‘if only my Sharon could see me now’ and ‘she don’t like me when I’m like this Uncle Albert made his leave and stumbled off to bed. With another early shift I too took to my bed and left the rest to hoover up what alcohol remained.
 
Sunday

Sunday 0645 comes around all too soon for me and I hit the snooze twice before finally giving in, of my catering team Notadrop cannot be raised and Bakes though up is doing his own thing at the moment so I press on regardless. Now familiar with the drill and the equipment provided things are underway in no time at all but despite an extra half hour lie-in breakfast is all but done and so far we are just 3 at the table.

The time was past listening to radio 4 (Bakes’ favourite) and the sound of the horses heading out for the morning hack, all we were missing were church bells to complete the scene. In an effort to not allow breekie to spoil Ritchie was despatched to the dorms with large saucepan and wooden spoon to offer some gentle encouragement, it seems thought the waking of the dead had all but occurred and a procession of the living dead ensued. Much offers of fried bread were made by the Exec Chef with surprisingly no takers but despite their frailty breakfast was expertly consumed. Time to pack up and clean up and ship out and a bon voyage to the travellers from afar who were not joining us on the morning ride and Super Motard racing at Lyddon Hill.

Whether talk of more Pilgrims Way or the Fording put people off or whether the exertions of the previous night had taken their toll we were just six for the racing and we set off in search of the swollen rivers of the Bournes for a bit of larking through the fords. Sadly the recent dry weather meant Pat was being led a merry dance in search of water and in a couple of hours the only water to be found was the Mountain Spring bottle in my tank bag, still he found some lovely roads on the journey to Lyddon where we arrived in plenty of time for the racing.

Bakes played a blinder in securing from the bunkhouse sufficient leftovers to provide a welcome picnic lunch of ham and egg sarnies, jam sarnies, fruit juice and erm… york fruits!! Delightful and it meant no queue for the snack wagons else I fear we’d have missed the entire racing program!

My first exposure to this super motard malarkey and quite simply it is total nuts and an absolute joy to watch. I reckon though I could have had em though on the PD. An excellent end to a great weekend, but I was ready for my bed when I got home.
 
And the thank you's

Pat & Ritchie for ride out leading and tailing :thumb

Bakes & Notadrop for providing an A-team of caterers :thumb

Dave & Val, Mick_rw & Notadrop for the tesco run :thumb

Uncle Albert for leading the caberet :thumb

And lastly to all of you who came and made it the weekend that it was, :boozer :drinkinpa dance pize :wave

Especially those with long journies to get down to our corner of the country. It was a pleasure to share with you all.

I thank you. :bow
 


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