Tuesday, 13 September 2016

Going with the Flo at Malvern

It took two trips to Malvern to fully set up for this year's Busfest thanks, in part, to our rat bike (a large, ungainly, American Schwinn Stingray, the size of a motorbike and weighing about the same as an African Elephant), which made its debut appearance on our stand. 

The Rat Bike

Our neighbour's van - including 2.1 litre race engine
Lucky to have survived our run in with the Busfest bosses last year (ironically over our “Busfest Survivor” tees and stickers), we were under scrutiny this time around, but still wanted to deliver some kind of show souvenir, as is now expected of us.  We fielded umpteen requests for this year’s show tee, instead offering up a Malvern Zombie Camping Permit sticker in keeping with 2016's zombie apocalypse theme.  Coupled with a Union Jack tax disc holder, these tax disc replacements for campers amongst the living dead, seemed to go down a storm!

Camping Permit Sticker 
Arriving at 6 pm on Friday, I was relegated to the visitors’ car park.  While Gaz and Caleb enjoyed a trip around the showground in our mates Lisa and Anthony’s (Coolflo) splitty, I unloaded the car, making god knows how many trips on foot, back and forth to our stand.
Splitty Shenanigans

Bags and bedding safely in our van, we were asked to move our vehicles outside so that the organisers could lock up for the evening.  By this time, we were all ready to kick back and relax – the calm before the storm.  I was ready for a beverage and soon found myself holding a can of warm Mojito cocktail in a car park at the rear of an aircraft-hangar-size cowshed.  Living the dream.

Our friends were camping for the weekend and so we met for a quick mooch around site and a visit to the fairground, which was all we could muster on Friday night before hitting the sack. 

We treated ourselves to this 1960s ice box
That said, Friday night was one of the worst night’s sleep I’ve had.  Anticipating cool autumn nights and scarred by our Camper Jam experience when we both failed to take any bedding, this time I was over-prepared.  Let me tell you, sleeping in a onesie inside a sleeping bag beneath a Tog 300(!) duvet with a security light shining directly into your eyes, does not make for quality sleep.  So you can forgive me for thinking that I was still dreaming when I found myself lying down in the back of a van in motion, with the theme tune from Lawrence of Arabia filling my ears.  

It was Saturday morning and Gaz was moving the van into the trading area.  The music, I discovered, was emanating from the stand of a couple who had penned a book about their 1970s campervan road trip around the Middle East. Very surreal.  In no time at all, the buzz of Busfest visitors forced me into action and I emerged, bleary eyed, ready(ish) for action.

The T4, possibly with me still asleep inside!
A very rainy Saturday passed in a blur of coffee and conversation with fellow traders and customers who had travelled far and wide.  For once we didn’t have to worry about staying dry and we’ll admit to feeling something akin to smugness for much of the day. 

We met familiar faces in our little corner of Busfest, including the talented Anna of iSea Surfwear, an independent brand designed and screen printed by the lady herself.  I love her eco friendly ethos, offering recycling incentives.

iSea Surfwear - handcrafted, screen printed surfwear, made in Wales
The guys from Brutebox showed up at the stand, bringing beer and cider, Bob the dog and new canine addition, the very handsome Dexter, with his newly engraved Voodoo Street key chain/collar charm.

Bob and Dexter
Baz and Issy (Brutebox)

Gaz rocked a bandana in his back pocket and I wore one of our extended tees over leggings.  Newsflash:  They also make super cool and comfortable tunics/dresses ladies!

Busfest Threads

By Saturday evening, we were all more than a little jaded and not wanting to pay through the nose for festival food, opted to order takeaway pizzas.  Who knew Dominos delivered to the gates of the Three Counties Showground?

Fed and watered and entertained by the variety of zombies lumbering around, we decided to catch at least a couple of tracks from Doctor and the Medics.  

Three tracks in and they still hadn’t performed “Spirit in the Sky”.  We had been leered and lunged at by the zombies hired by the organisers to patrol the mosh pit and were frankly running on empty. Just as I had a great photo set up of the Doctor in his red flares, hair flowing behind him, a zombie in the foreground, my phone gave out.  Stepping out of the zombie zone into the chilled night air, we were promptly “decontaminated” with a generous squirt of water directly to the face, before heading to the comfort of the van.

Sunday passed by with healthy sales and sunshine.  I was allowed to go wandering for a time to take photos and fund Caleb’s growing skateboard collection.  

Malvern in sunshine

Sk8ter Boi(s)

His crew were out in force and they had huge fun skating and making vlogs, one of which showed off superior editing skills to my own and may even make it to our much neglected YouTube channel. 

The return home was complicated as ever.  I headed off early in our VW Golf, which exactly one year ago only just made it through the gates of Busfest before the clutch gave out, but is still going on its original clutch (repaired by Gaz), having clocked up over 240,000 miles.


Gaz however, had to dismantle the rat biked in order to shoehorn everything into the van and so eventually rolled up at 9 pm on Sunday evening.  Still, I got to check out some customer photos on social media. Here's @miss_tommyguns (Instagram moniker) in her new favourite black Urban Army Cap and Matthew Pinker wearing his new burgundy Trucker Cap and matching Voodoo Street Logo Tee.  There are certainly worse ways to spend a weekend!

Mr Pinker
 As I type (Tuesday 13th), it's reportedly the hottest September day since 1911.  Don't know about that, but there is the mother of all thunder storms raging outside and the lights are flickering. So time to sign off and take cover.

Next up, it’s VDubs in the Valley and we’re praying for an Indian Summer!  See you there!

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