NATIONAL RALLY 2008
Nine of our members attended the National this year with four Branch cars on display, (I am cheating a little here though as one of the cars was on display in the German camp)!
This was the first outing for our new trailer tent so the night before we had packed and re-packed everything to get it right and so as not to forget anything – while all this was going on no amount of reassurance would get Pebbles out of the tent as she was determined not to be left behind (is she ever)?
Anyway the three of us set off armed with the two way radios at 9.30 Friday morning calling for Graham and Jackie on the way – we were a little smaller convoy than usual as Paul (main navigator and chief mechanic) and Sheena had prior family commitments. So the ‘lead man’ was left up to Chris………..
We travelled almost all the way without a hitch – until we came out of Tibshelf services………Graham radioed to say he had a major problem there was water pouring out of his radiator and everything had just lost power. Chris ran back down the hard shoulder as they had stopped about half a mile away, I was panicking as the road was so busy, anyway we rang Paul (chief mechanic) to get his opinion, when we were under his instructions everything didn’t seem so desperate! We managed to limp to Stanford Hall and get to our pitch and set up, it was really nice because Chris and Keith (camp site co-ordinators) had saved us a space with all our friends from the North East so mechanical help was at hand in the form of Dave Cook! Chris and Graham went down to set up our Gazebo on Branch Avenue and to get the ‘lay of the land’ while Jackie and I looked into what we were going to BBQ. I must admit I love these ‘do’s’ as there are so many people you get to see that you haven’t seen for ages, when I say this my mate Eki springs to mind – although he is a member of our Branch we haven’t seen him for a couple of years (Eki is the President of the German Morris Minor owners club). We had a fab reunion as the German contingent were camped opposite us, so I met a lot of there club members including Voulker (I apologise if this isn’t spelt correctly). Voulker is Eki’s second in command – although he looked much more like he should have just dismounted from a Harley Davison Chopper than uncurled from a Morris Traveler, which incidentally he uses everyday in Germany in his profession as a Male Nurse ferrying patients around…….
We had a super Friday night get together with all the gang and we had for us when we are camping quite an early night…….
Three o’clock in the morning I woke up to the sound of pouring rain – fuzzy brained, I thought as long as the tent isn’t leaking and as long as the next time I wake up it’s stopped it will be fine………five o’clock, no, still raining – wide awake and I can hear Graham coughing, we found we were all awake and it was still chucking it down. Chris and Graham decided to wander over to the shower block but this they discovered didn’t open until eight – they were just a little too early!
After breakfast we moved the Minors to their relevant places, our Pick-Up to the circle outside the Hall, I moved Brian from North East’s lovely little red convertible ‘Ed’ (which is for sale) and Graham parked in Branch Avenue, Steve was arriving a little later as he was travelling up that morning. It was still raining………..
We set our stall out despite the rain, we had our table set up inside the gazebo on the Avenue which was unfortunately hard to see, and as we had (and still have until our Rally) the ‘gem’ of all ‘gems’ to raffle off for our Marie Curie appeal. A Norman Metcalfe original Water Colour this little beauty is a really lovely Morris Minor Saloon. (Tickets are still available) we sold quite a few but we were having to grab people out of the rain which wasn’t ideal……….
Steve arrived and told us the weather had been great up until Nottingham, so it just seemed that our bit of the country was getting the deluge……..
We decided to call it a day and go back to base at about 4.30 – there was a much needed bottle of chilled white with our names on it…….The rain finally stopped at about 5ish.
Saturday night was the ‘Party Night’ with the theme ‘Diamonds Are Forever’ and a Hog Roast. The idea was to dress for the occasion in James Bond Theme……
Chris and I were very tongue in cheek as ‘Pussies Galore’ Ears, tails, whiskers and ‘bling’ Pebbles just decided on the ‘bling collar’ Jackie was dressed along with Sue Cook in slinky black numbers. After a slight ‘hic up’ when we reached the Marquee over Pebbles MMOC no. 56012B and supper ticket we gained entry and had a really good night. (Thanks go to Andrew, Marylyn, Dorothy and Malcolm for sorting things out). We then all danced the night away. There were some really fab costumes, Ushula Andress won the best female and a really big guy dressed as Jaws – complete with jet pack and cooking foil on his teeth (brave man) won best male.
Back to base around midnight, we had to be chauffer driven back to our base by Brian N. who had the official car as Dave Cook had extracted the Pick-Up keys from Chris after seeing him miss all the steps into the gents (even though Pebbles was trying her best to keep him on the straight and narrow)!!!!
See pics for more info!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
In the night the wind really picked up and was howling around the tents but at least the rain had stopped. Sunday morning saw Graham and I going on a rekki mission to the nearest village for cigarettes. When we came back we drove to the display area only to find that our Club Gazebo had been blown away along with eight others – out of all nine on Branch Avenue only one remained intact and that was only because the members were sat in it at the time! Others were just a tangled mass of metal and cloth!
This was a really sorry sight…….to say that it ‘killed everyone’s pig’ is an understatement……….
Still the events of the day were still going on. The highlight of this was the Inter Branch Challenge which this year was a Raft Race. The first heats for this were at 11.30. These brave hardy souls……..there were more waves on this stream than the North Sea! Taking part in the first heat were East Midlands in a wonderful peppier mashie construction of a Moggy, the North East sporting a jaunty Skull and Crossbones Flag, Rugby Ladies in a Caterpillar and Lancashire with the ‘cheeky boys’. The North East with Wye Aye 60th came in first, followed by Lancashire then Rugby Ladies then East Midlands with Soggy Moggy.
Heat two saw Northern Ireland in two baths with toilet seats for paddles, Rugby Men in the MM Mozzy and West Wilts, which was a construction of lots of large water bottles. Unfortunately West Wilts sunk almost immediately, despite having coerced Lou from East Midlands to help out…….The Rugby Men stormed away. So as the participants all went to dry out, we were all looking forward to the final at 2pm.
The sun was shining now despite the high winds which were still making things very rough.
Now that our display on Branch Avenue had gone we wandered about a little despondently as it was far too windy even to sit on our pitch.
The final of the Raft Race saw the Rugby Men storm to victory with the North East and Ireland very close behind, it left us all whishing that we had taken part after all……..
We had already packed our trailers away earlier so we just went back and had some sausage, egg and burgers before we said our good byes and set off for home.
The day ended very bright and sunny so the four of us had a really good ride back and luckily Graham didn’t break down although we did stop at nearly every services to check on his oil and water situation.
The weekend was enjoyable and it was nice to catch up with every one again.
To anyone who has put on a Rally, we all know how hard it is to please everyone and what hard work goes into it all.