Monday, 21 August 2017

Skeg Vegas Layby Flyby Baby!

In spite of an exhausting 10-hour return journey from the Scottish Highlands last Sunday, we were excited to be heading back on the road to our first ever Skeg Vegas VW Show just 5 days later.  In that time, we caught up on online orders and enquiries, unpacked the van from holiday and re-packed it for business, caught up with family, made a trophy for the show and shine and generally had a manic few days.

Loughborough Town Centre, Friday

Bright and early (ish) on Friday, we embarked upon what should have been a 3-hour trip to Revesby in Lincolnshire.  Unfortunately, it became apparent when directed to a dead end road in the middle of a wet and windswept Loughborough, that the sat nav needed a map update.  Our tech savvy son took over and allegedly found a much quicker route.  This ended in disaster when we took a short cut down the ominously named “Whale Bone Lane,” officially the most pot holed road in Britain (trust us, we’ve travelled over a fair few of them).  I’ll spare you the details, but the resulting flat tyre meant that we arrived on site at 5.30 pm – two and a half hours later than the set-up deadline.  Thankfully, the staff seemed friendly and laid back and we did not seem to be the only late arrivals.

Revesby Hall, Lincolnshire

Our arrival was equally as dramatic as our journey.  I literally stepped out of the van to stretch my ailing back and was greeted by a flash of lightning and a clap of thunder and it was back in the van to sit out the ensuing torrential downpour.  I must say, I found this all very fitting given our surroundings.  We were in the grounds of Revesby Hall, which was built in the mid nineteenth century in “Jacobethan” style (a fusion of Jacobean and Elizabethan styles of architecture) near the site of an old Cistercian Monastery.  It’s an incredible building and was the childhood home of Sir Joseph Banks, the famous botanist, who travelled with Captain Cook on his famous voyage of discovery to Australia.  It is now in some state of disrepair but is being gradually restored and unsurprisingly, given its long history, plays host to numerous paranormal nights.  The hall was perfectly visible – flanked by trees – in the neighbouring field complete with “Beware of the bull” signs. 

Eventually, the rain (and hail) subsided and we were able to set up without any further drama, unless you count the Monty Python knights, who interrupted their hunt for the Holy Grail to try on our handmade steam punk top hats for size!  
In search of the Holy Grail
Knight on horseback does Steam Punk

Old Ladies


We rarely embrace the fancy dress themes at shows – we’re time poor in the run-up to shows and it’s not really practical to erect gazebos and hang up clothing whilst dressed as a mermaid or Native American Indian.  However, by sheer coincidence, we realised that Caleb had inadvertently embraced the theme and was in fact dressed as a lumberjack!  

I'm a lumberjack and I'm okay

We then headed for the entertainment tent and whiled away a couple of hours listening to the covers band, who had an interesting set list, including Electric Six’s “Gay Bar.” 

Saturday brought it’s own challenge – high winds.  These persisted for much of the day.  By midday, word from the Skeg Vegas merchandise stall was that a hurricane was about to hit Bedfordshire.  This was disconcerting for two reasons.  Firstly, the weather for our location continued to show “light winds” which was clearly nonsense as I spent the best part of 2 hours with one foot on our totem hat stand, arms outstretched, holding onto the gazebos.  Secondly, if the weather was already so far out, was the hurricane heading our way?  

Sidewalk Carve Longboards - made to order

We had agreed to display some beautiful, hand crafted long boards for Sidewalk Carve Longboards on our stand and so Caleb was tasked with ensuring they at least stayed upright and didn’t fly away across the Lincolnshire flat lands, never to be seen again.  We relied on passing trade and other stallholders to retrieve our hats, caps and assorted bits and pieces taken by the wind.

Regardless of the adversity, we had a blast.  The relaxed pace of trade meant that we were able to take it in turns to have a wander, check out the stunning vehicle displays... 

Gertie Bob's gorgeous Bedford camper

VW Brazilian

...(including one of my favourites – Hayburner Vic’s Brazilian), chat to old friends and new, witness a modified wheelie bin challenge, listen to music and eat a little more leisurely than the usual bursts of mouth cramming. 

Cool Flo's Ant, struggling to keep control of our rat bike

We even managed to celebrate Cool Flo Ant’s birthday on Saturday night.  In fact Anthony modestly drew our attention to the fact that one of our weekend’s highlights was that we got to see him!  Another unexpected bonus was the night sky; layer upon layer of stars – a scene worthy of dark sky status.

Voodoo Street's winner

Sunday gave us the weather respite we needed - wall-to-wall sunshine, little in the way of breeze and brisk trade.  Gaz awarded our trophy to this ratty T25 and added our own rat bike to an impressive line-up of retro bicycles.  People were still buying off us as we were packing away and just as the last few boxes were being put into the van, we were treated to a Spitfire fly by.

Bicycle show 'n' shine

Lee and his partner in crime - nice cap!

After saying our goodbyes, we headed back towards the village of Old Somerby (the scene of our wheel change) to be reunited with our broken wheel, having now managed to free up space for the damn thing.  Again, a big thank-you to Sally.  If you ever read this blog, we hope that you are met with the same kindness you showed to us, in your hour of need. 

The weather gave us one last kicking and the motorway driving conditions were vile on the way home, so in a repeat of the previous Sunday’s experience, we arrived home late, knackered but buzzing and once again ignored the fatigue, had a couple of drinks and watched the late movie before hitting the sack. 

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