When it comes to the Round Britain Rally I am not famous for my stability. Ruby is prone to flinging herself at tents, other bikes, and most recently a neighbour’s caravan, which was innocently parked and minding its own business when she wantonly pressed herself against it.
Since my first rally in 2003 I’ve had five addresses, including a temporary stint at the Polar Bear Training Dojo, four jobs and three surnames.
Two different partners have come to the Annual Dinner with me. Twice I had to cancel because I couldn’t guarantee that there wouldn’t be a domestic over the coffee and mints, which rather disturbs the digestion of everyone else round the table.
All this change is rather exhausting.
But sometimes change is for the better. For as long as I’ve been going, the Annual Dinner has been at the Manor Hotel Meriden, though JD and others recall an earlier venue with happiness, I think mainly because of the size of the puddings. General belt-tightening and the feeling that the Manor was a little too corporate led Dave the D on the search for a new venue: and he picked a winner.
In autumn the RBR Camping Section meet at Conkers for the adjudication weekend-cum-massive barbeque. Conkers has a Camping and Caravan Club Site, a Youth Hostel (of the new, shiny hotel-style), and a Forest Discovery Centre. Which is available for functions. So Dave booked it. The RBR likes Conkers, Conkers likes the RBR but no-one likes the Youth Hostel, which is why I was camping. In February.
I say camping…wallowing might be a better word. The site was a bit anxious about the state of their grass, and as the site manager’s boots sank into the squelch, I understood why. But I am rarely daunted, so Paul put the kettle on, Jim supervised and I got the tipi up while only covering most of my jeans, my boots and the sleeping bag in pale beige mud. Ci, Jim’s new Jack Russell, enjoyed helping.
The plan had been to walk to the Forest Hall but Jacki and Phil offered to drive, and it would have been rude not to accept 😉
Some things change, some things stay the same. Dave the D’s children get a bit taller each year, there are a few more auction lots (including the RNLI flag which we were given by the crew at the Lizard to take round all the other stations), and Rufus gets a fancier outfit, but the main business of chat and catching up continues unamended. This year I thought I would innovate by wearing a dress, though some are disputing whether there was enough of it to count as such, and by wearing heels, though Miz felt the fact I was carrying my army boots in lieu of a handbag rather spoilt the effect.
The food was fabulous – especially the apple pie. JD wanted two helpings and Paul narrowly avoided having none, being away from the table when the waitress came round to ask “custard or ice cream?” “Say ‘A bit of both’ next time,” he advised. Which I think is a rule that could apply to many of life’s decisions.
And no-one is saying that RBR’ers are competitive but as soon as it became known that there were helter-skelters in the centre there was a rush to become the first All-Rounder. An honour which I think was nabbed by JD…
Graham has studied the map and persuaded me that I can do 2/3 of the Air Ambulance run and still put in my 2 days at Cadwell Park for Hopp Rider Training, so that’s the new plan for May. I was gutted when the date was moved because I was so looking forward to doing this run for the first time without having to worry about whether I was going to be dumped when I got home.
Some changes are for the better!
Archimedes didn’t just need a lever to change the world. He also demanded a strong place to stand. This year I am finally standing on my own two feet – but I’ve still got the stabilizers on. When Ruby has a wobble, my RBR friends help pick her up. And it’s the same for me. See you all at the A.R.S.E!!