Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing
Double-click to start typing

Sussex British Motorcycle Owners Club

Company Message

                                                                                 WALES - SEPTEMBER 2016


It was a pretty late decision to add a Wales trip to the Club calendar but true to form we cobbled together eleven individuals prepared to endure another trip to our favourite holiday bunkhouse at Llantony Priory. This was the first time that we all rode down on bikes that started on the button and it was a first time visit to the Priory for young Keith. As always there was one twerp who was late for call up but it worked in our favour as the late departure resulted in leaving as the rain abated. First stop at Sutton Scotney as usual and then on to Calne to a cafe discovered by Mike only to find that it had suffered a fire and was closed. A swift detour to Fay’s Bistro where we topped up on food and drink leaving the vans, driven by Don and Bob, to move on to another cafe up the road.


At this point it is appropriate that we record the fact that Mike wished to be referred to as the “Past President” please note not the “Passed President” (hereafter PP) although as the days progressed his affinity for the opposite sex brought him a different title. We continued our journey but in the busy traffic we lost our newby Keith and like every good team we did a lot of head scratching and subsequent searching before proceeding on to our destination. John waited at the Severn Bridge services for an hour or so in case Keith should catch up and we never thought he might be in front of us. In the end we arrived at the Priory to find Keith there already as he being ‘young’ simply searched for the Priory on his ‘phone, typed it into his satnav app §and made his way to the bunkhouse. As we were still getting our route from the direction of the sun or if really lost using one of those map things we were mightily impressed with Keith’s grasp of technology.

 
 


Day One -It was decided that we should take Keith up to the top of the hill to see how the shopping trolley was faring and to take in the view. This should have been a simple task although the lane resembled one of John Gs Friday Run lanes, two strips of tarmac and rather a lot of mud in the middle. Unfortunately progress was halted when Gerry aboard his cruiser lost rear grip and launched his machine up the nearside bank whilst he fell to the ground. It took two people to get the bike down while Gerry caught his breath and dusted himself down, Roger picked up the plastic shards and wing mirror . His efforts to launch the mirror up the bank proved unsuccessful at first as the bank threw it back but the lane was cleared and Gerry could proceed, but not for long. However not to labour the point or indeed embarrass Gerry let’s just say that he now holds the record for three crashes in one hour and has the bruises to prove it.


We were fortunate to enlist the help of a trained First Aider who checked Gerry over and declared him fit to proceed. That gentleman left a young lady, we presume his daughter, when he attended to Gerry some distance down the road and that gave the opportunity for the PP to come to her rescue by offering his jacket that he wrapped around her, clearly enjoying the moment. Riding round to Hay on Wye for coffee and cake we found that we had another problem as Derek was swaying all over the place as pillion passenger on the back of Dave’s Harley. I omitted to say earlier that Dave had also lost the plot coming up the treacherous lane and was now riding with kinked handlebars.


Taking in some local history and culture we stopped at Dore Abbey (www.doreabbey.org.uk) founded in 1147/dissolved by Henry V111 in 1537/a roofless ruin until 1630/restored and reconsecrated in 1634/further restored in 1900 and now has regular services, a fine organ and a peal of six bells.


Leaving the Abbey we returned to the Skirrid Hotel (www.skirridmountaininn.co.uk) to deposit Gerry and Derek to recuperate, promising to pick them up on our return.


On the promise of a coffee and/or ice cream we were off again for even more culture with a trip to Skenfrith Castle (www.nationaltrust.org.uk/skenfrith-castle) and a pleasant winding road took us to our destination some 10 miles or so away. Unfortunately the coffee/ice cream promise evaporated so it was just a tour around the ruins which are believed to be at 850 years old. We did decide that as               John B was leaving on Wednesday to take his Willy’s jeep up to Goodwood and Tony was leaving on Thursday to become a ‘rocker’ on Mick Droupin’s BSA at the same event, we would have our last night dinner today.

Unfortunately the glare from the wall light reflecting off the heads of those with little or no hair didn’t do much for the quality of the picture. As you can see we did pick up our two colleagues on our way back to base and Don and Bob provided the taxis so a pint or so could be downed.


 



Day Two - and a planned trip to Newport to the Pont Glude or the Transporter Bridge to you and me. (www.newport.gov.uk/transporterbridge) . Not being as well travelled as some of my colleagues I had no idea what to expect so was pleasantly surprised to see a fully working bridge of a design pretty rare in this country. Essentially it is a ferry bridge with a section of road taken across the river on a gondola suspended by cables and it is fully operational and one of only six similar bridges still operation worldwide. Just short of 300 steps up the steel support towers and you can walk across the spar and get a panoramic view of Newport

Not ever needing to be confined to base by the weather the drinkers escaped to the pub in the evening leaving the remainder to discuss the issues of the day which included the perils and problems facing a self employed plumber, how much motorcycle jackets cost, are all bankers rich? and the benefits of a pension plan, should your cash be in the Bank or in the garage. The PP got out his steam railway DVDs and his portable player, the threat of which had caused the previous escapees and those that remained had an early night.



Day Three - Colin and Cordelia had made us welcome as usual and Colin came in to the bunkhouse to try to sort out the showers which were really hot. We lent him our Plumbing and Heating Consultant, Bob, free of charge and between them the problem was allegedly resolved ....................

now they were hotter than ever. Our leader Dave, still with kinked handlebars but without his pillion passenger, decided we would take a trip to Talgarth where I thought was the swing bridge operated by the canal users. I was wrong but we visited the Talgarth Mill cafe for the usual coffee and cake even though most of us were fasting until the evening meal and where the PP continued his chatting up the local ladies. With Don on the back of Bob’s Honda and Derek on the back of Keith’s Triumph we went on one of Dave’s mystery tours a mystery to both leader and followers. Our trundling around the lanes was brought to a premature halt with the PP’s Yamaha overheating, so splitting up, some continuing along the lanes and the Japanese along the main road we met up again at Erwood. Here the local hostelry supplied us with coffee which we drank out in the beer garden taking our time and drinking in the sunshine before returning to base to dress for dinner, the second last night dinner this year.

Once again courtesy of Don and Bob we piled aboard the vans and proceeded to the Skirrid where some of us had our traditional lamb shank whilst others stayed with a different choice from the more than decent menu on offer. This event brought this year’s event to a successful conclusion so many thanks to all who came along and contributed to the ‘fun’.


Malcolm



                                                                         EPILOGUE


You won’t find Roger’s name mentioned above but he played a full part in each day and took a bunk upstairs where the wooden floor is a little less hard than the stone one downstairs should you fall out of bed. (Its happened before!). He also had a sleeping bag with a zip down the middle so no rolling over onto a cold zip in the night, sported some natty nightwear and outperformed everyone in the snoring contest.


Bob must have really soft hands after all his washing up ably assisted by Keith.


Don must have the patience of Job not only did he watch the steam DVDs but he had to contend with Gerry and Derek in his van on the way home as each tried to outperform the other with tales of their exploits.


Tony will get to grips with his satnav one day.


The Past President lothario, lecher or just a really nice friendly gentleman?


And finally Gerry’s cruiser decided when being loaded in Don’s van to kiss the tarmac one more time taking Don and Keith to the ground with it.


And even more finally Sean watched over events even though nobody talked to him.


 


------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------


Sent in by Steve Priston  

My Dad thought that the members that go on the trip to Wales might like to see these pictures, that were recently taken of where they stay, as he is a good friend of Colin who owns the farm.

Regards, Steve.

----------
 
 
 
 
 
 
                               *********************************************************************************************


THE WELSH ADVENTURE 2015.

Please be aware that the following report is my version of events and others may have seen matters in a different light especially as although I like to think my memory is OK that might not be the case.

2015 was always going to be different as our Head Chef, Provisions Procurer and Back Up Driver Clive was unable to make the journey due to ill health and we wish him a speedy recovery. Also missing would be our Head Entertainer and regular thespian performer Ron, again with health issues, what will replace his annual toga fashion show? This year’s total cast was as follows;

Mike and Don on their Hinkley Triumphs.
Tony on his Honda Jellymould.
Dave, Mick, Alan and myself on classic machines.
Gary on his mammoth Kawasaki.
Bob and Derek in the back up van with Yamaha and Royal Enfield respectively
and we picked up John B on his 1200 BMW en route.
Eleven individuals, but Don Noble with us in spirit with two of his bikes, now owned by other Club members ,in the party.

A trouble free run, dodging the showers for the first one hundred miles until the lunch stop at Huntley for us slow guys. Well fed, from the Senior Citizens menu of course, we set off for the last leg but now in pouring rain which persisted until we got to our destination Llanthony Abbey. Arriving we were met by the ‘fast boys’ who had the wood burner fired up and pumping out heat which was very welcome. A quick decision was made that as everyone had eaten on the way down we would just have a snack rather than venture out in the inclement weather. Beans on toast went down very well with all and the resultant flatulence guaranteed a tuneful evening and mixed with the usual bouts of snoring made sleep when it came very welcome.

Day two dawned still raining but with a promised improving picture as the day progressed. However first things first, breakfast consisted of egg(s), bacon, sausage, hash browns, tomatoes, toast and more beans. Alan, the egg man, never breaks an egg when frying them each morning only to find that Bob wants his yolk broken.........sacrilege! With the rain abated the main party decided to take a trip to Usk where they visited the local museum before moving on to a disused railway tunnel, whilst the health freaks went for a walk. Derek decided he wasn’t feeling up to riding so Gary took him as a pillion passenger on his big Kwacker. Now the pillion seat on modern machines is a little on the high side so Derek had Gary pull up to the steps they use for mounting horses so he could climb aboard. Gary said that Derek didn’t weigh anymore than a topbox and Derek didn’t know he was able to bend his knees up under his earlobes, Tracy will be pleased!

It appears the museum was really interesting and the trip to the disused tunnel meant that one hooligan who will remain nameless could ride through it shouting‘whoopee’. Our evening meal was in house consisting of bangers and mash with onion gravy which went down well. Although Gary and John escaped to the Half Moon to irritate the miserable landlord and to have a drink, some of us were ‘treated’ to a viewing of elderly steam trains and bird watching. There can be no doubt that the President’s passion for all things railway is shared by John but perhaps not by all of the party. Alan and I managed the Daily Mail quick crossword in about 48 hours but we improved as the week went on, especially after we recruited the Treasurer.
Day three and at last wall to wall sunshine and Wales looking as fantastic as it can, with views second to none. An early breakfast and led by John we set off for a day of riding with the eventual destination of Devils Bridge in mind. The full party set off in good spirits out through Builth Wells and into the most remote and sparsely populated heart of Wales. The scenery was out of this world and the roads with little or no traffic were brilliant with steep, and I mean steep! climbs around hairpin bends that tested everyone. The hillsides were often carpeted with dark blue bluebells (well they wouldn’t have been any other colour would they) and although there had been a lot of rain in the previous month parts of the hills still looked parched. A brief stop at one of the highest spots gave us all the opportunity to soak up the surroundings and Dave christened the road as “The road to Heaven”.

Off we set to our lunch stop at the Hafan Cafe in Tregaron where our enquiries found that we had to wait a while as they didn’t serve food until 12 o’clock. When we returned we found that the owner, who had connections with Southwick, had kindly reserved tables for us. The food was good, the service timely and the waitress pleasant and friendly, although the fact that she had her identical twin sister as a customer could have been confusing. A quick visit to Trip Adviser on the internet showed that the cafe was a popular place and enjoyed a lot of good feedback. Tregaron appeared to be about to have a funeral as the road was marked out with black and white cones, the first I have seen, and there were an awful lot of people wearing black. We added nothing to the solemnity of the event as we tried several roads out of the village, riding back through until we found the one we wanted.

On to Devils Bridge with a very healthy detour, unintended, with a glimpse of the sea at Aberystwyth before we eventually reached our destination and the almost compulsory steam railway. Those with an keen interest were captivated by the engine and station complex, others were more interested in the tea and cake and some found it the right time for forty winks. Now with our stomachs and evening meal in mind we rode via Rhayader along the Golden Valley to the chippy for fish and chips ‘al fresco’of course. During the journey I suffered a front wheel puncture with the resultant buttock clenching, bladder loosening tank slapper more than a little disconcerting. Having a footpump with me I was able to get some air in the tyre which proved to be good enough for six or so miles before it went flat again.

Don who was already acting as auxiliary fuel tanker for Bob’s thirsty Yamaha by carrying a five litre of fuel in his top box now acted as tail gunner as I limped to the chippy. Once fed I was on my way again and with a few more stops to inflate the tyre I almost made it back to base before the tube gave up completely and the back up van was forced into action. That event was bad enough but the following day I was dressed up in white overalls and gloves which intended or not made me look like the Michelin Man and with more than a little help from Bob and a new tube from Mick the problem was resolved (or so we thought.). From every incident like this some good usually comes and in this case our efforts were videoed by Mick and the playback gave everyone the biggest laugh of the week at my expense!

Day three and the party split with Mike and his buddies going off to Shrewsbury where they intended to meet with Rupert at Dobbies Garden Centre and sure enough after a sixty five mile journey they met within a couple of minutes of each of them arriving. Derek decided he would have a quiet day and poodled around the lanes on his Enfield enjoying himself. The remainder of us decided on a local journey up to the Talgarth bridge over the canal a nice easy ride on a great day for riding and after the lunch break at the local cafe, pannini and coffee, we moved up the hill to the reservoir. This really is a calm, quiet, tranquil place with banks of rhododendrons along the side of the waterfall down to the water treatment centre and after a lengthy stay we set off for Llantony to prepare for our ‘last supper’ at the Skirrid Arms. A quick wheel change to try to re-centre my front tyre, shower shave etc and ready to go out. I must say in passing that I had been mightily impressed by the way Mick and Alan went barreling into corners on their Nortons. It could have been those Roadholder forks or indeed rider talent but when I mentioned it to Mick he said that his bike wallowed a bit on corner entry. A check of his rear wheel showed that he had one broken spoke and several that were loose.

A great meal and good humour at the Skirrid rounded off another Welsh escapade with thanks to those who cooked, washed up, purchased the provisions, planned the routes, contributed to the essential banter and drove the back up van which carried me once again for the last one hundred miles.

Malcolm

Ron has his own room, also known as the boudoir, and I leave you to decide why.

As our resident thespian Ron gives an annual performance of his version of a Roman Emperor as he exits the shower and this year added a spectacular display of modelling the latest line in male pyjamas.


Clive (aka Nigella - although his curves are a little different!) made the role of head cook his own and made sure that we were well fed. Bangers and mash with onion gravy on arrival, a hearty full breakfast every morning and one evening meal with minted lamb burgers and sausages fresh from the farm.



Ably assisted by trainee Don no one went hungry and Don, an early riser, made sure the kettle was on and tea available as soon as everyone was awake.

We ate on two nights at the Skirrid Inn, the oldest pub in Wales and the scene of Judge Jefferies courtroom where offenders were tried and if found guilty were hung in the stairwell. According to local legend some 180 felons were hung here and the rope marks can still be seen on the staircase wood.

For us the company was friendly, the food excellent and the selection of ales sufficient for most tastes.
 

For Gerry he needed a jump start after leaving his heated grips on all night, or should that be his bike needed a jump start?


 
This year even the bikes were warm and dry!

This picture was taken after most people had left and you can see the beautiful setting of the barn.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

As always the few days swept by very quickly and the decision to have an  extra day proved worthwhile as one day was a washout with an inch of rain falling.

The President and friends managed to get his annual fix of steam trains with a visit to the Forest of Dean, Bob and Di sought solace in Hereford Cathedral and others made a circular tour of the Welsh lanes with a mileage totalling 130. Dave was caught cheating at cards and Ron decided nobody loves him!

Changing our dates from the Bank Holiday weekend to a midweek break proved to be a quite brilliant idea. There was very little traffic on the journeys to and from Wales, and when there the lanes were pretty clear. The only downside was the lack of local facilities, the lady who makes the cakes was closed and one pub we stopped at had no food, no lemonade and not even a bag of crisps.

Hey Ho! roll on next year but with a few new faces?