Now I am often told I plan too far in advance, but even I was flummoxed at the middle
part of 2015 way before I had my 2016 diary when a message came through asking if
I would like to attend a rally at the end of May 2016 it would have been rude not
to say yes. However I may have trumped this enthusiasm of telling people about events
by letting people know of my birthday event in 2017 the day after my birthday in
So early this year and a loud thud through the letter box and a nice letter and tickets
had arrived, cool I now knew where I was heading for.
Next I knew I had been upgraded to official photographer for the event, time I thought
to find my best photographer hat and trousers and look for my camping gear as unused
for the last few years. As ever leaving it to the last minute, I pulled tent out
which has done sterling work for over 36 years now gave it a quick sniff and decided
lets go. had i mentioned I really have gone off camping now.
The venue was the superbly cool Fort Purbrook which is one of several Napoleonic
forts that were built near Southampton. Part of a defensive line of forts on Portsdown
Hill, along with the superbly named Fort Widley which made me smile with a childlike
glee. Many have now been demolished, but this one still looks like a fort, guns the
lot and is used as an activity centre.
It was that cool just strolling around looking was a popular activity and also had
proper and clean toilets with hot water brilliant as later that night the temperature
dropped and hot water got the blood moving again on the Saturday morning. Under the
camping area, which was a challenge to peg tents as the soil is very shallow, are
some cool tunnels and rooms sadly all locked up this year. In previous years these
tunnels have hosted the main evening event but it proved difficult for some disabled
visitors to access so the event moved to the main arena. The walls giving the event
a kind of amphitheatre feel with riff raff on the tunes belting out all afternoon
while some fools tried out the assault course.
With a large gazebo marquee and beer tent, and beer tokens and beer purchased,
I was comfortably positioned for the evening. The caterers were for the weekend
the superb "tattooed skullery" with a superb range on their menu and are now in
the top 3 of Bosun’s recommended food emporiums.
Fed and watered, well beered really if that’s a word, the main act came on a great
local group “something else” who belted out fab tunes, and energetically ran after
the audience wherever they were, as the only critism of this amphitheatre effect
was it meant people did not have to move from their camping spots to enjoy the band.
(the other being too many people bringing beer in when asked not too meaning they
stayed away from the tent area)
After a great night, and all tokens spent, I crashed out, not hearing half the gazebo
making a break for freedom due to gale force wind , in the small hours, and awaking
In the morning to a truncated marquee. I have to commend the work of the sanzarru
guys for not only rescuing but rearranging the marquee at 4am.
Saturday and a lazy start in glorious sunshine meant ride outs, yes a windmill on
Hayling Island, and a huge ride in by several local clubs in the afternoon. Followed
by a quick bike show, well the bikes I picked kept riding away, but those that had
awards were chuffed , and then silly games including the put on a frozen t shirt
contest and any game they could find to embarras a guy on a stag weekend
the evenings entertainment was planned for dead fred, but feeling the effects of
a night under canvas i headed home to a comfortable bed... will Bosun camp again
watch this space..