So it was off to Lommel in Belgium to use up some of my left over Euro’s. Jan Beyers had sent me the address for my satnav so it should be easy, or so I thought.
Followed it faithfully from The Hook of Holland through to Belgium, using for the most part avoid motorways so I could ride the interesting roads, and finally down a cul de sac heading to a river/canal inside a small wood where it told me I had arrived at my destination. Nice place to hold a very small rally but definitely not one there.
Whilst my companion panicked I rechecked I had put the correct address in and then looked around and saw a house marked 195 so then checked that the road was definitely Gelderhorsten in Lommel so I knocked on the door and asked the gentleman who turned out to be Jan’s concierge ‘do you know of a motorcycle rally?’ in my best English.
A shake of the head and then he looked at my bike and smiled ‘Moto Guzzi Treffen?’.
Ja and then yes, speaking German in some parts of Europe can lead to problems, I nodded, so he lead us to the rally on his pushbike, about 500 metres past where I had turned right onto his road.
And then I discovered a useful side effect of wearing full leathers on a hot continental day, England had been cool when I set off, you sweat an inch off your waistline just setting up the tent etc.
Still that was sorted later in the evening.
This may come as surprise but they had a group of deaf and dumb people there. I gather the club they were in was dying but their president is now part of the Moto Guzzi Club Belgium so they will continue. It was educational and very enjoyable to watch them seriously partying, and later arguing.
Real people watching beats the idiot box every time.
The band was good as well and I prefer rallies where there are children playing and being brought up with a motorcycle-rallying attitude. I can only hope the sport/recreation (I hate the word lifestyle, too many bad connotations) can continue for them.
The Murphy, who I was travelling with, has this annoying habit of complaining (not bad enough to call it whining) about everything if it is not completely to his very English taste*, and quite loudly, so on the Saturday night Sunday morning at about 12:30 after he had gone to his tent I went across to the kitchen crew who were recovering from their labours to apologise.
They had a strange way of punishing me. They kept putting fresh glasses of beer in front of me before my old one was even empty and feeding me fags. You pay for everything with bonnettes (vouchers), which you purchase separately, it makes things easier and quicker, mine had run out hours ago. By 03:00 I couldn’t take any more and called it a day. The ride next day to The Hook of Holland was interesting. But they were still up before me to prepare our breakfasts.
This is one to return to next year, and next year’s unfortunately clashes with the V Twin in Fordingbridge. I may be giving the V Twin a miss then
We caught the night crossing to Harwich and as the on board breakfast is pricey plus I didn’t want to hit London too early on a Monday morning we stopped off at a lay-by breakfast bar about 10 miles from Harwich on the A120. Spent an hour chatting to the bloke and eating his excellent fayre before braving the roadwork’s on the M25. Definitely be using his emporium again as well.
To be honest the A12, M25 wasn’t too bad, just glad I don’t have to do it on a daily basis.
And then a week later it was off to the V Twin Rally in the New Forest.
I cannot say what caused it, the weather, the atmosphere, the bands playing at a decent level and not ear bleeding loud or just my general feeling that life was good, I don’t know but it was the best V Twin in a decade.
To be honest I did have one complaint, the faggots, chips’n’peas with gravy on Sunday night for £4.50 from Snack in the Mouth could have done with some more gravy. I was too shy to ask.
I have a difficult decision to make next year.
An ancient Guzzisti
*I accept that they do things different over there and that is why I went. Over there sometimes includes Essex. This was written before reading Dave’s editorial BTW, and we both also suffer from vertigo.