Tuesday, 19 September 2017

VDubs in the Valley Episode IV

On Friday morning, in a field far, far away (well, Arley - about 20 minutes’ drive from here), Episode IV of VDubs in the Valley dawned.  Gaz and Hayley Aulton and their crew had been hard at it since the previous Monday, battling high winds, unseasonable temperatures and heavy rain (thankfully no Sith lightning), to turn what had been a field full of sheep the previous week, into a weekend haven for Vdubbers.

The day was spent going backwards and forwards to the site.  Gaz had already driven a fully loaded van over to Arley (seriously, not even a ferret could have squeezed inside our T4 on Friday).  I followed later with yet more boxes, before leaving him to set up so that I could manage our online store and enquiries and to be on hand to cook tea at school kicking out time.

With plummeting temperatures on Friday night, BruteBox, our neighbours on one side, took Gaz and his man flu in hand, providing a fire and dispensing their own special brand of medicine (a rum hot toddy – rum, lemon, rum, honey, rum, a dash of hot water, some rum).

Saturday was manic.

The sun shone and the crowds came!

Great to see our 2015 designed tees are still going strong!

There were Star wars costumes aplenty and geeks ruled!  (For me, the word “geek” is a term of endearment). 

Spot Hayley, far right, on a rare break.


Some folks started earlier than others (Cookie!) We met Cookie Simon Cooke), his wife Vikki and son Alfie as customers at our first ever trade show – the first ever VDubs in the Valley, pitched up next to a solitary oak tree.  A different field, a different time.  Four years on and Simon, fresh from his appearance as a finalist on E4’s Tattoo Artist of the Year, was a fellow sponsor and trading neighbour, adding his own unique artwork to various coveted items and getting dressed up at 10.30 on a Saturday morning! (Sadly, I didn't get a photograph of him in his awesome costume, but here's an oldie!)

Mouse Droid lurking behind Boba

We were privileged to be custodians of this incredible Mouse Droid, built by Simon Flack.  Simon reminded us to include a Mouse Droid in the design for the official tees and beady eyed regulars may just spot our dedication to him in the artwork. 

"Leia No Buns" an obscure Star Wars character

I managed a token effort.  I was aiming for “Hoth Leia” but with theme appropriate leggings, a padded body warmer and cherry red Doc Marten boots, the link was tenuous.  I didn’t even have time to attempt the famous Leia buns.  Caleb donned a Boba Fett knitted hat.  Gaz had just been too busy in the weeks leading up to the show. 

Under the Fridge in action
Saturday night we managed to squeeze in a little socialising - accompanied by a cider (Gaz, standard) and a rather nice local beer from the BeerBuz (me), Under the Fridge providing the soundtrack.  With Autumn beginning to kick in, the temperature dropped as rapidly as darkness descended and…with no dead Tauntaun to shelter in, it was soon time to hit the sack and we headed 20 minutes down the road to our own beds. We also wanted to collect the P6, which has made an appearance at every VDubs in the Valley show to date, but with a flat battery and no fuel, this was not going to be straightforward.

The Beast and Gaz's stickerbombed unicycle

Gaz decided to redeem himself on Sunday morning, having failed to cobble together a Star Wars inspired outfit.  Therefore, he drove on site in the P6 wearing a Darth Vader helmet, but even the shocked photographer scrambled his camera too late and failed to get a decent shot.  So if anyone did witness Vader driving a 1970s Rover - Mrs Vader on the roof - into a farmer’s field early on Sunday morning, no you weren’t still suffering the after effects of a heavy Saturday night.

We hit the ground running on Sunday, fuelled by sausage sandwiches from BruteBox.  By 11.00 am, we had sold out of show stickers and were running low on tees.

Our dancing Coke can (a late 80s/early 90s craze, which had been sealed away in Gaz’s Mini for at least a decade) was a reminder of a more simple time.  Really simple.  We didn’t have to get our entertainment YouTube clips or from sharing memes on Instagram – oh no!  We were laughing hysterically at a moving soft drinks can in sunglasses!

Sunday was all about the vehicles and they were varied, sometimes outlandish, but always stunning.

Gaz fell in love with this Chevrolet Corvair
A beautiful splitty
The arse end of a Beetle.

VW Bugs

Love this Beetle!
Far Out!

We judged the Show n’ Shine's "How the hell did it get here?" category on Sunday and awarded a mummified skull (what else?) to Mark and his unique rat bus.  

Gaz as usual, got carried away and tried to re-brand everything as Voodoo Street.

Mark's Bus

BruteBox Bus?  Are you sure?

Powered by Voodoo Street

Express & Star photographer, paid the show a visit and captured this excellent shot of our rat bike and picked some unsuspecting child to model one of our steampunk hats, which ended up in Richard Guttridge’s online coverage of the event.

Photo courtesy of Express & Star Newspaper

Show ‘n’ shine over, prizes handed out, rain clouds gathering and rumours of thunder storms heading over from Dudley, we started to pack away.  Once the Golf was full of boxes, I took Boba Fett home, knocked up a roast dinner and started to trawl through the emails.  Meanwhile, Gaz was failing to dodge the rain and I felt a disturbance in the force.  A phone call confirmed my suspicions.  He was drenched and returned home an hour or so later, bedraggled, with a look and mood to match a snow beast.

Thank f*$k for Celia’s brownies, our VDubs in the Valley mugs and a night in front of the TV. 


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