Avon End of Season Bash

Mere 19th/20th September 1998

The evening started off with an epic juggling performance by Jim Mallinson, supposedly (but not exclusively!) for the children - what Jim can't do with 6 balls isn't worth knowing! He finished it off with his "piece (?) de resistance", what he calls "yogic" juggling, which entailed juggling 3 balls whilst lying on his back with his feet behind his head! Not a particularly pretty sight I can assure you, but pretty amazing!

Even the bbq was a laugh in the end, although poor old Simon (Kerr) was getting a tad stressed at times! I'm not sure who the caterers actually were, but DON'T use them, EVER! - they were supposed to turn up at 1900 and be cooking by 1930, but by 2030 when they still hadn't arrived we were getting somewhat anxious. Eventually they phoned saying they had been directed to Keevil airfield (about 30 miles away) by their boss (?!), but that they were definately still coming, which they did albeit at almost 2200. So when they arrived at last and said they would be cooking within 15 minutes, we were all (those that hadn't gone down the pub) somewhat relieved (after all, there's only so much beer you can drink on an empty stomach!)

In the style of VIZ, "imagine our surprise" when 15 minutes later they said they didn't have the gas burners to actually cook with!!! Can you believe it?! Still, there's nothing like a challenge, and the Avon VW camper van team set to work cooking at least 50 burgers on a couple of stoves! (Thanks Simon, Marcus & Charlotte, Tim & Elly - we would have too, but the children were asleep in the van, honest!)

Just when most of us were stuffed, Richard Taylor and Mark Drake arrived back from a mission down the A303 to Wincanton, armed with 6 bags of charcoal. Richard then proceded to make sure there weren't going to be any more false starts by pouring about half a gallon of petrol over it to guarantee it ignited! Of course we then all had to stuff another couple of burgers down our necks so as to not appear ungrateful after their sterling efforts!

Meanwhile the band were getting back up to speed again, managing to get most people onto the "dance floor" and a few of us up the 20' marquee pole! (In time honoured "there I was at cloudbase" pg speak I have to say that I was sky god on that occasion, being the only one to get to base, with only Simon Kerr and Richard Taylor coming anywhere near! Following all the talk on this forum about comp gliders etc. I'm pleased to report that our DHV 2/3 marquee suffered no major collapses, despite inappropriate pilot inputs and huge amounts of alcohol!) Eventually the lift shut off and there were only a few sad and lonely individuals left in the air oggling Lara Croft on Simon's play station!

...and then there was Sunday - what a day! I don't believe Mere has ever been so good! The trick was (in the words of our club newsletter's illustrious editor, Marcus) to "get high, stay high, and fly far!" which is precisely what Nico and Tim B did - a bloody good effort (42km). Simon "what, an XC from Mere, you must be joking" Kerr, had to land south of Shepton Mallet (20km) frozen solid after taking off in only shorts and a T-shirt (no gloves either), whilst I, euphoric over a low save which got me back up to base, promptly blew it on a stupid glide which had me on the deck behind the Bell Inn in Evercreech (16.5km), only to look up and see Tim and Nico climbing up to base above me - @^&*ing hell! Still I had a nice pint though. Mark Drake had earlier landed on the hills behind Stourhead House after we had both been fighting like bastards over the trees towards Alfreds Tower. Apparently after the five of us left it shut off for a couple of hours back at the hill and no one else got away, but even so I think most people had their best day's flying for ages.

So all in all, an epic weekend - who would have believed it after the summer we've had!

Thanks to:

  • everyone who attended (especially other halves and children) - it wouldn't have been anything without you
  • the organisers & helpers on the day
  • the farmer on whose land we camped White Horse Marquees - your marquee's ok, honest Bertie!
  • Pev, for the generator
  • Juggling Jim, for making sure his shorts weren't ripped
  • the band "Once Bitten, Twice Shy" for being so good and giving us a hefty discount
  • Team Avon Mobile VW Catering Corps
  • the whole Avon Club for undoubtedly subsidising it to some extent
  • ... and last but not least, the weather gods - can we book the same again for next year please?!

See you all next year!

Tim Pentreath
(Avon Membership Sec)