The 2014 GPO Rally took place on the first weekend in October in Hanslope near Milton Keynes and is organised by Barrel Bikers (Bucks) MCC.
Dave Ranger met up with Phil the Spill as always at this rally. Here is Dave's report followed by Phil's.
Friday night there were two bands and a good selection of real ales and ciders.
Saturday the weather was a bit grim so curtailed my planned trip into Wolverton and Newport Pagnel.
The silly games were successful with Mole as always at the centre of things.
Saturday afternoon there was a blues duo and then three bands after that.
- Dave Ranger
Rather a surprise start for this year's GPO - sunny and warm. This was welcome, however, as I was putting a tent up that I hadn't used for a few years and had many pegs and guy ropes, that would have been even more of a pig to put up in the wet. It was windy, though, which added to the fun. At least the intervening years hadn't treated the tent at all badly, and nothing had rotted or rusted. The sleeping bag was in excellent condition, too. After far too long, the domicile was looking pretty much as I remembered it should look, so I threw everything into it and had a bit of a rest on the airbed. After a while, I felt part of my body touching the ground. More in hope than certainty, after re-inflating it, I made sure the bungs were firmly pushed in and went off to the marquees to see what was occurring.
Unusually, the Barrel Bikers have a catering tent even larger than the beer/music one. Well, they need it to fit all the tables and chairs inside, along with the extensive kitchen area they have developed over the years. This is certainly the only rally I have been to that lights the dining area with chandeliers!
The BBBs like to decorate the catering area with photos from previous GPO rallies. This wouldn't be quite so interesting if they hadn't done so many of them. There are names at the bottom of each rally, attributing the photos to whoever took them. It appears that I am the only person to have been sober enough to take photos for 24 out of the first 25 rallies! After that, one or more of the club members got decent enough cameras and they took on their own photo supplying.
I was informed, rather mysteriously, that there were a couple of guys looking for me, who hadn't seen me for about twenty years. I had a quick think to see if I could recall upsetting anyone twenty years ago, but couldn't, so I assumed their intent was not hostile. Indeed, as I wandered around the camping area, checking out the variety of machinery, a couple of members of the Chapel MCC called out to me. It really had been that long since they saw me, but they recognised me immediately. I had a bit of trouble doing the same as their arrangement of hair was vastly different, (less on top, but with added beards), but we had fun reminiscing about old rallies, as you do.
The BBB certainly support live music, and there are always plenty of bands on. Friday night we had 'The Highwires' followed by 'Bite Me'. Both quite good. I have to admit giving up around midnight, when I discovered that my airbed did indeed have problems, which only increased when I added my bulk on top. I awoke in pain just a little while too early to get up and gave it an emergency blow-job, which lasted a few hours.
When I did eventually venture out of the tent it was raining, naturally. I had one of their excellent burgers to start the day.
I'm not sure if the advertised run out went ahead or not, due to the weather, but people tend to go out to marvel at the sprawling mess that is Milton Keynes anyway and occasionally get lost amongst the myriad of roundabouts.
The games were mostly held in the marquee, with the exception of the crank throwing which was put outside after the rain had mostly stopped. So no damage or injuries this year. (One of the organisers acquired the nickname 'crank' after an accident involving the contest some years ago.)
Later in the afternoon there was a blues duo called 'The King Biscuit Boys' playing in the marquee, listed as 'may be somewhere near the stage', followed later by '8 Foot Under', (not, as I fancied, under the stage). The awards were given out and the raffle was announced, (no prizes for me on either count) and the last band up were 'Tailgator', who played for a good two hours. (And they were quite good, too!)
The marquee never seemed too full, despite the number of people there. This may be explained by the fact that there was a video link-up in the catering tent, which was close enough to get the full volume of the music. So quite a few people were enjoying the bands in comfort, while the rest of us chose to stand.
After another interrupted night, I managed to get everything packed up and stowed away. The airbed, which I have now realised was over twenty years old, has been disposed of. I suspect I shall be back next year, as I have managed all but one of them so far. The one I missed was due to my mistake involving the dates of the 18th GPO in 1998.
- Phil (the Spill) Drackley
[See more of Phil's photos in his Facebook Album.]