Well truth be told it’s a while since the GA accompanied by the in-dominatable Basket Brigade, held the season finale ride, however dark nights, cold weather and the lure of a glass of Port and a good pipe has encouraged your humble writer to catch up on the events of the previous year that have as of yet not been documented.
For a change this year, we left the centre of modern civilisation and sallied forth to the Cheshire, Shropshire border with our base set at The Crown in Nantwich a 15 Century hotel and bar apparently built before the invention of the right angle.
Friday evening as ever riders start to gather from the four corners of this Sceptred Isle keen to catch up on events since the last meeting and maybe have a pint or two, to sleight our thirst after long journeys.
Saturday morning, bikes are assembled and as per the club manual an inordinate amount of fine tuning takes place, to the untrained eye this may appear as amateur tightening of nuts and kicking of tyres, however those in the business give a knowing nod with the sort of respect that was given to Merckx in his prime. It also offers a time for the late and the great to turn up and sort themselves out.
At some time in between 10.00 ante meridian and 11.00 ante meridian we set off on our way to wend the back roads and low roads of Cheshire and Shropshire, heading off to the picturesque town of Market Drayton, tradition dictates that en-route we stop for a little tea and cake to sustain us on our travels, but alas and alack we were riding in the wilds of the English/Welsh border and victuals were notable in their absence.
Of course the Basket Brigade are a resourceful bunch and Mrs Adam as ever was prepared, supplying one and all with cake and whisky cocktails, it was down to Wertie to provide the entertainment repairing a puncture he had thoughtfully picked up, few things are better to watch than one mechanic and eight advisors pointing out exactly what he was doing wrong.
A few miles later Market Drayton was in our sites, or more specifically the Red Lion, home to the Joules Brewery and associated bar where we fed and drank like kings (of admittedly fairly small domains), as is always the case with the Holly Run, light was against us and the need to push on reared its’ ugly head for our return leg.
Around this point the skies opened and a rather moist homeward journey began, to less stoic people this would usually start the dampening of spirits of riders too, of course the GA are made from much sterner stuff with rain treated as a challenge to be raised to.
Safely ensconced back at GA HQ, with time for a quick wash, brush and pint before setting off for our evening meal at The Leopard, where the Landlord was good enough to set a private room aside for us, although the word he used may have been “isolate”. Regardless, they did themselves and us proud, before packing us on our way with just enough time for a little nightcap at the Crown. The nightcap finished approximately 3.00 ante meridian after a bottle of Dolly Parker was found, it could well have been later if Mr Young had not done the decent thing and drained the bottle.
Considering the late night, Sunday morning we assembled remarkably bright eyed and bushy tailed. With the threat of more tempestuous weather a shorter route was hastily planned in the Ops room, this time taking in Hack Green nuclear bunker, I think the late route change caught the occupants a little off guard as the blast doors were still open when we arrived…
Anti-aircraft guns checked, random buttons pushed and the guards safely locked up in the Guard House we set off to complete our little circuit and miracle of miracles dodging the rain.
A thank you to everyone who made the trip to the Civilised North (although technically Midlands), it was lovely to see a couple of the GA’s founding fathers coming out for a spin and a special thank you and welcome to @Tjpixy and @Munkinson for providing excellent company on their first outing with the GA and Basket Brigade.
A few snaps from the weekend