Ian’s Piggy Bank winced as the hammer swung down towards him. ”Ooooh nooooo” he thought, “why can’t he remove the bung like everyone else.”  With a CRASH! SMACK! WALLOPY! KERCHUNG! the change came pouring out Hoorah £62. 2 buttons and a washer (oh not a washer one of those Danish coins with a hole in) let's go and party.

   Firstly using the £2 for extra lottery tickets (National lottery equals Ian wants a wildy fund, this was later to prove a waste of time and effort) and off to meet the others, sadly less Nick who had fallen early in battle while sandwich making, at Clackets Lane (Note to rally organisers all rallies should be sign posted from M25 even the internationals)

   Sean and Leigh from the Crusaders had kindly offered to put us up (and seemingly half of the VSOC) for the evening at their mansion near Colchester, “International City of Roundabouts 2003” So that the next day we could head off early to Harwich and the boat to Holland. We were to be in the Vanguard of the Rejects party ensemble, over 20 Rejects were expected to come and play.

   Not unlike the D Day landings just over 60 years ago, so nearly 300 VSOC party animals invaded Holland from England. (Well ok so D Day was France, but grant me some poetic licence please) and upon reaching Harwich we were to make up the first group of 56 bikes.

  We were soon at Holland and it was a tad damp, but the smiling Dutch were there to greet us, and so we headed off on the 100-mile trip to the site. Now there have been several theories about what happened next, from heavy traffic to rush hour etc, but the few of us who were in Denmark 2002 know the real answer, that it is divine retribution for getting the Dutch lost on a ride out (The fact we did not know they were following does not seem to matter). Either way 13 of us were sat on the hard shoulder of a busy intersection, Thankfully Carol and a few other Saxons, had a map, I had the Internet paperwork, we also had the secret weapon of AL, who somehow can find places. Hours of filtering later and we reach the site; woo hoo, and only just a short while after the others. Well-done Al. Especially as it was later found the Tail end Charlie (also a Saxon) had a GPS system.

  So there we were in front of the gate and we were presented with a shot glass of something lethal, a quick swig and I was not unsure I shouldn’t have put it in the tank as a fuel additive. I think the guys on the gate had been on this for some time, as entrance fees did fluctuate.

   Finding the others I was pointed in the direction of the designated “snoring area” (thankfully a non ant infested area as well) tent and gazebo up it was time to explore.  

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   With the amount from the UK expected the site was split onto 2 football pitches, mainly UK on one and the Dutch etc on the other. There was a good selection of bikes as well, I haven’t seen which passed a few pleasant hours.

The bar was soon found, blue tokens (beer and food) sourced, Sausage and chips eaten and a chilled out evening chatting to the early starters ensued. With a mellow head I headed back…

    The next day arose too bright and early for some, and we all staggered around until coffee and breakfast was ready, a very leisurely and relaxed 9am. (We were all desperate by then) A little later on a ride out was planned to a Harley Davidson Museum, several went, many were left nursing thick heads. The rest of us went to the delightful local town for a little light shopping, a rather pleasant lunch and a few beers.  

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   More gossip and an attempt at erecting a new flag pole, and flying a big black sausage kept us busy for a while, or sampling the joys of the outdoor bar, until the next contingent arrived. Hoorah that meant all 21 of the Rejects party crew was in attendance. Cramming tents in as close as possible was the next game, despite the abundance of space. With Mr Kipling parked near at least an early morning tea was possible due to his ever boiling kettle.

    With the party in full swing, we strutted our funky stuff to a seriously good band, met old friends and made new ones. Bob, Otto, Les and Dave, who gave it their best doing the Blues Brothers, then serenaded us. What a crack that was.  

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     Our chairman, and also our party hosts spoke a few words of welcome, and then it was back to the partying. With a crack! Varoom!! Varoom!! the dance floor lit up with several bikes and scantily clad riders and pillions. Including some Rejects Naughty Boys J. I must say however pleasing the sights were I just couldn’t help noticing a few headlamps needed a bit of buffing up.  

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    Later that evening I retired earlier than usual, only to be informed the next morning of how I had missed all the fun of Table jumping, Random tent occupation, Football and mistimed guy rope hopping.

   Another day, and this time with an early tea, thanks Pete. Oh boy there were some sad looking people around nursing very thick heads, dodging the showers (both natural and the ones with a mega queue) we decided on a small ride out, so having dug out boots and helmet, which was now sporting a strange fungal growth, I was ready. The real ride out with full police backup was apparently a superb trip. However the others because of the light rain decided to avoid it though and so we headed again for the town.

   I do believe we had almost a full house in the restaurant, rejects everywhere. In the afternoon entertainment was laid on with Bucking bronco’s a few stalls, more herrings anyone? There was also the outside bar. The northern raiders claimed squatter’s rights on our gazebo, but kindly let us squeeze in occasionally.

   Saturdays band was also cracking with a good mix of covers, including some Stevie Ray Vaughn, Les finally “Came out” and he certainly seemed to enjoy the fishnet tights. Tired and happy bed called.

   Sadly Sunday was time to go, so a few swift goodbyes to those rejects staying on a day, and a few friends we will not see for a while. In small groups we all headed off on the 100 miles back to the port, this time expertly led by Gill and Tony (who had a map). Unfortunately one group did have an accident but it was good to know that all involved made it to the boat even if their bikes didn’t. It seemed the party carried on all the way home on the boat, with so many VSOC members on it.

   Peeling off steadily on the way home we waved our farewells. A fantastic weekend, good friends and good times. It’s what the international is all about.

   Roll on the next one