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Sunday, 5 July 2009

Wye aye man. Or something.

I estimated that it would be a 6hr drive to Wooler, in the great county of Northumberland (is it a county, can I call it that and get away with it?) for the VMCC Northumberland Gathering. So I thought if I was away by midday on Friday that would allow plenty of time to toddle down, set the tent up and head to the pub for a bite to eat. So at 1pm I finally drove away from Cubbie Towers, Cubbie securely tucked up in the van, got half a mile down the road and suddenly remembered that I didn't have my VMCC Membership card with me. Dratations. Turned round, back up the bumpy track, walked down the drive rather than opening and closing two gates, searched high and low for it, then remembered that it was probably still in the pocket of my riding jeans that I'd used for the Bracken Trundle. Tsk. Went back to the van, checked the pockets and there it was. The next delay was having to stop at the chemist that was closed, and then go to the post office in the next village to collect another free tax disc for Cubbie, and then yet another stop at another chemist (one that doesn't shut for lunch) to pick up some anti-crabbit pills. It's little wonder that the trip took longer than planned, as the next small holdup was from Dundee all the way south; torrential rain causing poor visibility and stupid numpty drivers forgetting to turn their lights on. By the time I reached Edinburgh it was Rush Hour. All I had to do was stick on the A720, the city bypass, yet somehow I ended up on the A702 - taking me right towards the city centre. At any other time of the day I could have just nipped off at the next exit, but every lane was chokka and it took about half an hour to get back on the right route. Finally arrived in Wooler about 8pm, found a nice secluded corner of the campsite, pitched the tent and was all ready to collapse for 40 winks when Mike from Scarborough turned up. He's not actually from Scarborough, but that's where I met him last year. So we walked the 'short walk' to the pub, enjoyed a nice couple of hours chatting to Martyn from http://www.cubsite.com/ and his friends 'n' family. He's the guy who tried to tell me that tappets aren't called tappets. And I still don't really understand his technical and mechanical reasoning, but I'm happy to refer to them as RATTLERS from now on, just to wind him up ;-) Upon returning to my tent, I was most perturbed to see another tent had grown right next to mine. Humbug, the whole idea of being over here in this corner is so that I can be all crabbit and grumpy on my own. Ah, but then, what should appear to my sleep deprived eyes but three sturdy (and only half clad) young rock climbers by the names of Steve, John and Danny. Maybe it isn't so bad after all...



Saturday morning, and it was an early start. Not from choice but down to the dear little mites in another nearby tent who are obviously full of youthful exuberance and thought nothing of running around screaming and playing at 6am. Apart from the kids, it's actually quite a nice campsite, with ducks and ducklings pottering around cadging crumbs from campers. Soon after the kids were up people starting to fire their bikes up so I joined them. Got Cubbie out, first kick, vroooom pop! Such a great feeling. The rock climbers didn't surface for a while, something to do with a late night session in the local pub, but they were really quite impressed with Cubbie, and I was really quite impressed that one of them produced his palmtop/Blackberry/mobile internetty thing and checked out the blog, there and then. Well, that's these young folk for you.
The older bikes set off a while before the 'moderns', and as per usual, I was one of the last to leave, despite being numbered as 69 out of 87. But it was a very informal thing and no necessity to leave in order. Just as well 'cos I hadn't even signed on 'cos I was busy talking to Ted Haworth, Chairman of the Stirling Castle VMCC section. He said Cubbie's rattlers didn't sound too tappetty, so I was happy with that and set off on what turned out to be a cracking ride of about 140miles (according to my dodgy milometer). Mike finally caught up with Cubbie at the coffee stop - he was riding an AJS Model 18s - the 's' being something that Cubbie doesn't have any longer. Next stop; lunch, where I met another member from http://www.cubsite.com/, Andreas who has a T20C at home. As it says in the programme, what's it doing at home??? We look forward to seeing it in Scotland one day...maybe next year...

Saturday evening was spent in the pub enjoying good food and banter - I tell you, these Geordie boys and girls have a fine sense of humour - also got to meet John The Vicar who visited Aberdeen a couple of years ago and met a fellow Grampian Classic club member, but never got around to meeting me or Cubbie. Jimmie Steel was on my list of people to catch up with, which I did, and he introduced me to some of the Border Reivers, a 'sort of newish VMCC section' - although I don't think they're a section yet, so I probably shouldn't say that, but they're a nice, enthusiastic bunch and I hope I've twisted enough arms to get them to come to the Plus1 in August, the closing date for which is Weds 15th July, so hurry up with those forms chaps! It was a late finish for poor old GBC and by the time I got back to the tent the snorers had started up. As a result of that and my shoulders hurting to the point where I couldn't even move an arm to adjust the sleeping bag, not much sleep was had. But I pride myself on not being crabbit on Sunday morning - and get this, this is the best bit of the weekend in some ways...the people camping just down the hill from me, Mark and Mary, had shown an interest in Cubbie. Over the weekend, we had chatted several times about Mary's desire to find a small classic bike that she could handle. Well of course, I offered her a go on Cubbie. Come Sunday morning, she turned up at the tent, kitted out in her leathers and ready for a go. I did a lap of the campsite to warm the Beast up, but it promptly stalled as she climbed on board. Mary must be a bit like me as rather than let me start the bike, she was already fiddling with the kick start. Well blow me down, she only went and started Cubbie all by herself. Ok, so she has a basic knowledge of the gears, clutch and brakes, but but but, she did good. With no tick over

Cubbie probably isn't the best bike for a beginner to begin on, but she gave it some revs, selected first gear and off she went. Hmmmm. That's a weird feeling. It's one thing letting an experienced motorcyclist ride your pride and joy, but someone who's only ever had a brief go on an Ariel Arrow is another matter....or so everyone told me...just to be on the safe side I kept an eye, and an ear, on what she was doing. Ooops, sounds a bit fast there....hang on...wheres she gone now....eeek, there she is! I'm amazed. Gobsmacked. The girl done good. Her hands were shaking from the adrenaline buzz , and the grin was testimony to how much she enjoyed her first Cubbie experience. If I can return the original favour, where someone let me have a go on their bike, and it helps to get another lady classic biker on the road, then it's all worth it.

Thanks to the organisers of the 32nd Northumberland Gathering, look out for the official report in Old Bike Mart.

Hang on, I've missed a bit. Ah yes, thanks for borrowing a picture from the blog to put in the programme Martyn, t'was a bit of a shock to see me looking back at me, and much as I don't want to cause any trouble, I would like a re-count on the answers from the second checkpoint - see the following picture...hehehehe...oops....trouble trouble trouble strikes again...

Look at that Cubbie Grin!

9 comments:

Martyn said...

It was nice to have made your acquaintance GBC.
I hope you didn't get too wet at the Northumbrian Gathering.
If you ever decide to return - to Durham/Northumberland, at any time and would like assistance/accommodation then get in touch, "marra"
Martyn

Mrs B.C. said...

I think it's perfectly understandable that you got the road numbers muddled. Who wouldn't? Why have such similar numbers at such an important and usually busy point? Pause for all the perfectionists to rush in. And I think maybe rattlets might be a better name? Sounds like a great weekend, although you were sorely missed here on weed cutting and water carting duties. Maybe you could arrange for a stand-in next time.

Anonymous said...

GBC, Crabbit,grumpy!!Why? You live for these events. Much too young to be grumpy. Thats what happens when you get to middle age usually.(Apologies middle agers) Or maybe us grumpy old men bikers are starting to rub off on you. Maybe you could try and fit some rock climbing in.

kawa said...

Travellings never the same if it goes to plan, infact in would be a bit boring, Sounds like a great weekend you had, an Cubbie must be just about run in by now. Not going to say a word about pics :-)


kawa

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Pictures? It's a long lunch, ok?

Anonymous said...

Crabbit & grumpy?
G.B.C.hasn't been the same since she met Victor Meldrew!!

Stuart ;-)

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Hi Martyn, good to meet you too - I'm sure Cubbie will be passing through Northumberland again one day, so we'll look you up. But hopefully we'll see you up in Scotland before that...

Rock climbing? With these shoulders? Me thinks not. Though I've always quite fancied trying my hand at it.

Hello Stu, you back again eh? ;-)

Sorted the pics for you Kawa...

Darrell said...

Great pics and it seems like you had a good trip. I've never used a route sheet, so I was curious about the way it was written. interesting.
Also, I tried to email some pictures, but the e-mails got kicked back. Is the "cubbiescounties" address still working?

Gorgeous Biker Chick said...

Yo Darrell, have you been and done your trip? That addy still works but has a 4MB limit I'm afraid. I'll drop you a line.

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