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The Ridge-Way Weekend

Green Lane Expedition - September 2009 - Wiltshire & Somerset

It started on the LROi Forum. The post was titled "last chance til spring" and read:-

OK, my arms have been twisted by a magician and another :lol: :lol:
who would realy like to do a trundle to the ridgeway on the last weekend of september IE 26th -27th .
we are thinking of camping nearbye, say on the friday night, which gives us all saturday and a little bit of sunday :wink:
If you are interested, just let me know.

With the addendum

The 'last chance til spring' is because the Ridgeway has a TRO on it through the winter, except for access to farms and stuff :(

It was a zenith of happening on LROi, amongst the original Bala attendees, and the post ran to nearly twenty pages of banter over three weeks of organisation until every one who could make it left.

I really wasn't sure after the Salisbury Safari, whether I could afford the fuel to do the run, BUT serendipitously a chap from Gloucester, had been looking for some Rally Harnesses, and  offering to buy a pair I had left over from stripping Wheezil, provided the means to pay for the camping! So, Friday afternoon, the kids arrived after school, and we quickly grabbed some 'stuff' and got on the road, delivering the harnesses en route, and arriving at the Three Magpies Inn, Melksham JUST as it got dark!

Friday Evening




















Checking in......
anisboy wrote: Was going to lead Tef upto M4 and LPG stop nut when got out of pub carpark he'd already gone and we didn't catch him up sp hope he found fuel and got back ok :)

anisboy wrote:Bit worried to be honest as I said I'd lead him to the garage, so hope he's had enough fuel to get back.

Sorry Anisboy!

Went & paid for the camping, then went to 'sort out' my passenger side mirror; Honey's only real injury of the week-end; took a clout on one of the tighter lanes, and refused to point in the exact direction I wanted there-after...... nothing wrong with it, just wasn't 'quite' where I like it..... so I tried 'adjusting it'..... and broke the ruddy glass!
Anyway, kids were chomping at the bit, and I figured you couldn't be more than a few moments behind me on the road, and remembering how you kept going away from me when we went off in search of gas....... fully expected you to be coming past up within a mile or so on the M4......

Checked the gauges as we hit the M5 interchange, and had to make a judgement call about the fuel; I reckoned I SHOULD have had enough to get us up to the Gloucester services; we'd chucked £20 worth FPF in when Chunk lead us up to the Milenium horse, and 'last time', that had got us to Stranthem, with Honey running badly, so I figured it should have been sufficient.... though with the red-light on the fuel gauge, I wasn't entirely convinced.... but I thought I'd risk it, there were a couple of services between times if I had to tale on more FPF, and I remembered our discussion about opening hours, and being past four, chances being that the ASDA & Morrisons would have both been closed, and your comment that the Shell was unreliable; strentham I KNEW would have Gas....

I also had Rhys doing a Paranoid Peter in the passenger seat, and would have given him apoplexy turning the wrong way on the M5, even if I 'primed' him for it!

So we carried on and I found truck doing a nice steady 60, and tucked myself in his 'bubble'! and we rolled into Strentham, where I did a quick audit of available funds.

Thanks to a nice Chap in Gloucester, called Dale, who'd wanted a set of seat-belts for his Series, and bought them off me for £40 on the way down, funding the excursion, I had, £25 left.... but then had an 'Ah!' moment and hunting behind some old train tickets in my wallet, found another fiver, which was actually the kids pocket money!

But, pooling that, I reckoned we had enough for another 20 worth of fuel, AND a Wimpy Burger....... and checking the menu, they had £2.99 happy-meali-ish things, which were NOT the usual M-Way services rip off, so, I treated the kids to one each, and chucked the change into the tank!

mrFrog wrote:
Chunkster wrote:has anyone heard from teflon yet?
Er, no... Fingers crossed it's not an adventure to match the last one :?

So Mrs Frog, they got their burger too!

Got back to Nuneaton, after a fairly steady run, at 8pm, dropping the kids off with 1/2 and hour to spare, not a bad margin on what was basically a three and a half hour run.

Was going to txt you Anis, to say we were back safe, becouse I knew you'd be concerned, (for which I thank you indeed), but as Chunk suggested......

Chunkster wrote:I expect the last thing he will want do after a trip like that is play on here, he is probably in the land of the zzzzzzz's

Fell out of the car on the drive, grabbing essentials; fags, keys, fone...... tumbled in the door.... went to stick the kettle on, but couldn't reach the side, as I'd stashed my street tyres in the middle of the kitchen floor! last thing before leaving Friday (My last set of 'spare' hoops were nicked out of the garden two years ago, while I was away for a few days, thieving scum!)

Prodded the fone, but it did its "light up-turn off" trick, and I just didn't have the energy to argue with the bludy thing, so tumbled into bed for a bit of kip!

So, having stared at the end; well....

First of all a HUGE THANK-YOU to Oily & Dawn for arranging the week-end.

Oily, you did a sterling job, leading 6 Ladies round the lanes. Its no easy thing, when you have to be thinking, not just about your driving, the route and your vehicles capability, but that of the five behind you as well, in addition to whether people need provisions, fuel, comfort stops or a photo-opportunity, worried YOU will be the one in the spot-light if the going is either too easy or too hard, or a wrong turn is taken!

You did a sterling job, my freind, sterling, and it was MUCH appreciated by all.

And in the roll-call of thanks; Anisboy & Mikesgirl, for breakfast cooking facilities; augmented by use of Dawn's stove for the kids tea, last night, & MrsM for half a loaf of bread for the kids bacon butties this am, and to Mr Frog for helping me set the tent up in the dark, Friday night!

Shinika was GLOWING on the way home, about the way Landy-Folk 'Muck-In' and help each other out.

Kids take so much for granted, and we parents are want to grumble at how they are so rarely satisfied and never seem to appreciate all we do for them..... but its something that I take a small delight in; as long as they are taking us for granted, we must be doing a pretty good job! 'Cos all their expectations are being met, and they don't even realise it!

Though, I guess I am lucky, in that my kids have pretty low expectations....... and they DO appreciate it, though maybe not immediately, only when they think about it, as Shinika did, in her moment of clarity on the car on the way back.

Her comments were along the lines of:-

"Isn't it BRILLIANT, I mean, we had that TINY bag of food (Cool bag was in the caravan, so I had an insulated sandwich bag with an ice-block in it, with two packs of bacon, and three packets of sliced meat, an ASDA BBQ bag of bread rolls, a selection bag of crisps, and a bag of apples that tasted 'soapy'.... we'd left the biscuits at home!), yet we didn't go without a meal, did we?"

after a little more reflection

"And every-one was helping fix each others Landies and stuff............"

and the final accolade........

"Its NOT like MSN or anything you are told about with the 'net, is it!?"

On which topic, I ought to comment that in the last term at school they have been doing 'safe Surfing', and being taught all the 'Dangers' of the internet, and about cyber stalking and stuff.......

Which, is a topic in its own right, I'm sure we could all debate at length, starting with the sad state of affairs that children have to be taught this stuff at school, and carry on through the way that the bad PR would have every-one believe that every-one on the net is a cyber-psyco.......

BUT, a week-end like this is a VERY good counter-point to that perception; a bunch of people, who know each other almost exclusively through the internet, coming together, in a field, out in the back-of-beyond, and a demonstrated sense of old fashioned 'community', that is very rare in our modern 'packaged' society......

So I think I have one 'last' thank-you, for you to all pass on, and that is to the children.............. For my kids, it was their attendance that made the week-end for them.

And I have to say that they were a credit to every parent there; they were all BRILLIANTLY behaved.... OK, you don't have to tell them that! But they were; there wasn't a precious 'Brat' that I noticed amongst them; they just charged off and did what kids should, play and have fun!

And given my kids predicament, I CANNOT thank you all enough for letting my kids be a part of that, it REALLY is just what they need.

So, onto the weekends activities!?

Well, MrsM's account is a blinder to rival even one my my epics! What can any-one add to that!

Honey, I have to say performed admirably all week-end, apart from my concerns over fuel consumption, which the week-end does seem to suggest has improved! It's not her fault I just don't have the money to buy her the stuff!

Ah... for the days when I ran a 109 with expedition tanks and could afford to fill them...... or a carburetted 3-speed Rangie, and LPG was merely a notion worth in investigating, rather than a necessity! But, C'est L'vive, I guess......

Memorable moments of the week-end?

Waiting for the Morgan Clan to arrive.......... :-) :-) :-)

You just HAD to be there!

Sat around the communal gas-lamp, waiting for and speculating on, the almost ceaseless string of txt msg between her and Dawn, (much have been withdrawal from being parted from her PC, I reckon!), culminating in the one MrFrog posted pic of, about off-roading with the Caravan down the Tank-Track......

The images conjured during that dialogue were worthy of any Carry-On film, or 'Travelling Wilberies' cartoon!

The CB 'Banter'....

Particularly the announcement.... "Hang On, we are just having a little trouble with our windows"
With the reply........ "Have you tried 'control-at-delete'?"

When Mrs Frog broke bumblebees passenger door window........ WHY cant women just 'close' a door? Why do they ALWAYS have to slam it so hard that the Landy rocks between the bump-stops! :-) :-)

The 'Ramblers'......

The 'CB-Chit-Chat' about them could have filled a book!

Some-one somewhere better add 'Speed-Bobbles' into the CB Lexicon, and we REALLY need a proper points scheme for them!

For those NOT there; we were driving the Ridgeway, that stretch of 'long trail' much fought over in years past by the bobble-hat brigade, whose number were admirably represented this week-end.

As some-one said on the CB, "If walking's so much fun, why do they all look so damn miserable!"

It was true; honestly, we passed literally hundreds of walkers this week-end; and there was hardly a smile between them!

I thought they must all be going to the Wiltshire & District Gurning Finals or something!

Seriously, it was appalling, and I now fully understand what all the contention was about.

FEW if any of the walkers we passed were actually 'Ardent' walkers, with the ski sticks, boots and flasks. and of the one group of 'Ramblers' we encountered, giving a 'little' credit, they were probably the 'more' considerate when we passed.

They at least stood to the same side, and tolerated our passing without adverse hostility, and one even SMILED (though he may have been on medication!)

For a large part, there was a palpable air of hostility as we passed most.

I lost count of the number who waved hands, or wrapped hankes over their mouths and made exaggerated 'choking' gestures.......

I did wonder a couple of times, whether to get out, and ask if they needed medical help for their 'athma' and offer to drive them to the nearest A&E..... just to see how long they'd keep it up....

Cars were parked at the ends of by-ways or on the sides of the by-way beyond the parking area... and I use the term 'parked' loosely..... so as to almost obstruct the by-way to all but walkers.

The advice offered in the Ramblers Code or even the highway code, were completely ignored; and walkers would IGNORE six land rovers driving up behind them, and continue walking three abreast up the, excuse my language, middle of the EFFING ROAD! and only step aside grudgingly, and then one to either side, so as to leave only the minimum possible room to go through....

Though it was the zig-zag pedestrians that were the worst.... they sort of look at you over their shoulder, start towards the side, realise that there's a bush there, then dart to the other side, then JUST as you are a long side them, decide to fall off the verge back into the road!

And to WHOEVER made the comment about the cyclist with 'twin air-bags'...... no you CANT blame it on the Jeep; Yes she DID hear it.... she was level with my open window as you said it, and heard EVERY WORD over the PMR, clipped to my seat-belt, and looked straight at ME, thinking I was talking about her! (mind you her boyfriend nearly wobbled into a ditch behind her, laughing!)

Which was of course the stretch we encountered the three-legged grey-hound.........

Which, leaves, amongst the memorable moments...... sorry Ansiboy! But you were the only one of us to get stuck this week-end!
Yeah! We know, it was the gas tanks........ but hey! Mikeysgirl; stirling job there getting it out the ruts for him!

For those of you at the front, that missed all the exitement; after the lunch stop, and every-one filed over the brow into the gulley, Ansiboy, dropped into the column behind all the Defenders, expecting, I presume to do as we'd both been doing all week-end and straddle the ruts to make up for our reduced ground clearance.... only there was a nadgery little section, where you HAD to tram into the ruts, as there was a tree one side and a rock the other, and the ruts were just a tad too deep to break back out of before a ditch dumped your diffs on the ridge... at which point Anis' sill tanks dug in!

He was in a RATHER awkward predicament too, and as the kids said, the funniest moment of the entire episode was as he tried to escape through the drivers door window.... becouse the door was wedged shut by the ruts.... dived into the back for, and this was the unfortunate bit, an INDUSTRIAL sized toilet roll, and sprinted off to answer a call of nature!

But, we tugged the ditched disco back up the lane a bit, and Chunk grabbed his shovel and graded the edges of the ruts a bit, and Mikeysgirl did a great job of bouncing it out!

All in all, I think every-one had a good week-end, and once again, it goes to show what nutters we all are, as well as the camaraderie between Landying folk.

Thanks again, to all for making it the week-end it was!
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