24th, 25th &26th OF MAY
With the fantastic weather that we have been enjoying, hope’s for Smallwood were really high and memories of “The Stripper” getting burnt when he fell asleep last year. So with some of the beer removed from the boot to make way for sun cream, we were all set for a Florida’esk show.
Casting our minds back to August last year, problems had arisen. The main fact being the Coleman event shelter had put a letter of complaint in stating that it was not designed to hold so many people, this was sorted with a whip round and enough pennies were collected to purchase a second shelter. The second problem was gas related. While the curry was being prepared on friday night, the pressure was too poor. With a 16kg bottle being too small to supply 2 x grill’s, 4 x gas rings and a twin burning BBQ. Flames kept blowing out. This would be harder to sort and would need careful thought.
With the best part of 8 months to sort things out, the winters work was set. The new Coleman arrived late November and the gas was sorted early February. By the start of May everything was in full swing until a stock check over the phone threw not just a spanner but a whole toolbox in to the works. With 3 weeks to go we realized that we still had no new lights for the shelter, no sides for the new shelter and lots of gas related bits and by bits I mean lots of fittings but they had not been put together or tested.
Friday saw us arrive to a damp field and an overcast sky, not quite what we were expecting. Alex had chosen our plot right on the crest of the field. With the 2 shelters erected side by side for the first time there was a huge gap at the top of the arch, this is something that will need addressing before the next show. With Alan arriving on scene he took over the duties of wiring up the new lights, Mike was sorting out the kitchen, myself sorting the gas and Alex sorting everything else. The club has been able to acquire 2 47 kg gas bottles and a twin bottle regulator (there shouldn’t be any supply problems now!). All was going well until Mike spotted that the gas pipe was held on to the regulator with a cable tie. “What the flippin heck is that!” or words to that effect came out of Mikes rather stunned mouth. I then had to confess to not bringing enough jubilee clips. But Mike being the ever resourceful scouser had already hatched a plan. Mike suddenly shouts “Alex is your Land Rover rolling down the hill”. Alex downs tools and runs to his Land Rover to check the handbrake is on. Quick as a flash Mike had the bonnet up on Alex’s Capri and whips a jubilee of the fuel line drops the bonnet and is back by my side before Alex had even reached his Land Rover. “There you go, use this one” Mike smiles as he passed me the clip. The only other notable addition is a sink with running water. This was a crowd pull in itself as it uses 2 old beer barrels to hold clean and dirty water.
Friday night saw Mike & Millie, Alex & Kasey, Allan, Mk1 Gaz & Tracy, Stokie Gaz, Ian, Anthony and myself enjoying each others company. Things started off as they had left off last year with Ian announcing “Take a good luck at the MK1, shes on ebay and will be sold by the end of the show”. As things were to transpire this would not be case.
We awoke on Saturday to a cold wet and miserable morning. By 3pm a cold Alan Relented and Went home as the rain had been persistent all day, at one point i swear we saw Nohra sail past in the Ark. The day was a disaster, so what did we do? We fired up the BBQ turned up the tunes and partied. I am quite confident that one of this years stand out images will be of Alex, flipping burgers as Kassie stood next to him sheltering them with a giant golfing umbrella. True troopers the pair of them
Saturday night was to see 3 nutters dancing in the rain to kevin and perry go large soundtrack. For a change we also went across to the beer tent. On the way back a drunk Stokie decided that he was going the right way back to his tent and we all going the wrong way. Guess who was right? We all arrived back at our tents at the same time including stokie but he was the other side of the hedge. “No problem i used to go hedgh hopping as lad” he told us What could go wrong? Well as this was a farmers field and the hedges were actual field divider hedges measuring approx 4 feet high and 4 feet wide, am sure you can work it out for yourself by the end of it it looked like stokie and been dropped in box full of angry cats.
Sunday saw us awake to more rain and mud. One of us looked up at Ian’s MK1 covered in mud. “what happened there” was asked, Kassie just riesed her head and said “3 lunitas were dancing in rain and mud next to it last night” OH yes now i remember and that explains all the mud on my jeans. Allen and Eric had met up outside but were not allowed in as the field was so muddy the organisers were going to sort out a route into the showground. By 10am the tannoy sounded “Todays show has been counceled, Please do not move your vehicles till we tell you we are hoping to open tomorrow as planned”. What happened next was a mass exodus charging for the gate motor bike’s, truck’s tractors and motor homes all leeveing with in 10 minutes it had stopped not due to paying attention to the marshals but due to poor diverer ability prety much everything got stuck. Now it was time for the vintage tractor boys to come out to play. The rest of the day was filled with much merriment at221667438892 watching the carnage unfold. We weren’t told that the show was off the following day but with everything packing up it was quite obvious as the day went on and there simed to be order to the vehicles leaving Stokie decided now was the time to leave (Gas had plans for the bank holiday monday and was always leaving on sunday night) so in this field were 4×4 tractors were getting bogged down he climbed into his 1.6 rear wheel drive Capri Laser and braced himself for the enumest task in front of him. At this point Alex’s choice of stand location excelled as we were on the highest point of the field. Gas was pointing uphill so slipped it into reverse and he moved and kept moving he was going he took the longest route, the route that was not churned up, he was 300 yards from the gate then 200, by this time people were watching in shock except possible the guy in brand new range rover sport that was axle deep and stuck. by 100 yards you could make out the sound of people willing him on 30 yards, 20 yards then 10 and then he got on to the concrete to cheers of all the field except maybe the range rover owner and then to add salt into the wounds of people he had the nerve to do a 3 point turn and drive out the gate forwards.
Sunday night saw the orgenics come round and tell us the land owner had managed to track down a band that was going to play in the beer tent. we gracefully turned down the offer and explained that we had our own beer and we would be drinking that with our music on “bring the beer with you, the bar packed up and left 3 hours ago”. As there was no catering left on site the land owner rang the local pizza shop and got us all a delivery. A fantastic night and weekend was had by all, and as for Ians MK1 it sold on monday afternoon but by then the show was over and we were on our way.
A Massive thanks need sending out to everyone involved with this show we hope to see you all again next year
From your rather muddy, cold and wet roving reporter
Pikey Thanks for reading and see you all at tatton in 4 days