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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.