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Symonds Yat

(May 25, 2009)

The trip to Symonds Yat


“Come with us on our weekend trip to Symonds Yat in the Spring”, demanded several of the Hogs Bollocks at one of their legendary beer and curry nights. “But we aren’t members, and anyway”, Val and I replied, “we go everywhere two-up on a Triumph rather than a Harley”. “Doesn’t matter”, they retorted, “you are our mates and we are inviting you”. “OK, we’ll look forward to that, hic,” we said as we downed our last drinks and headed home.

Sure enough, several months, many drinks and not a few curries later, the invitation was renewed. And, wait for it, we were to stay in hotel rooms for a change, rather than tents. See, the Hogs Bollocks can go posh!

So, off we set in May, ten bikers on six Harleys and a Triumph. And a fine May day it was indeed. I was sporting my shades and so was reprimanded by Helen. “It always rains when you wear those damned things,” she complained. Nevertheless, the sun continued to shine for the whole 120-mile journey.

We rode at the back (except for a few miles when I could not resist opening the Triumph up a bit). “I’ve got a bloody headache riding behind you lot on those thumping V-twins”, I said as we dismounted at Symonds Yat. “Never mind”, said one of the Hogs Bollocks, “when we’ve checked into our hotels we can relax with a pint in the sunshine”. So, quick as flash, we checked into our room, with the thought of drinking in the beer garden at the front of our minds.

Quick as a flash was obviously not quick enough! Drooling for a beer we approached the bar, only to find that the Hogs Bollocks had beaten us to it. There they were, supping in the sun in the beer garden. Well, a pint turned into a few, and a few turned into… well, I’m sure you’ve got the picture.

8 pm was feeding time, which took place in the hotel restaurant. The quality of the food was good but it was the nouveau cuisine sort of thing. You know the sort, you finish the meal and immediately seek out the nearest chip shop. Poor Gray, he ordered rice pudding for afters, and sat eagerly anticipating a pudding like his Mum used to make. His face dropped when the waitress delivered the smallest rice pudding imaginable. Clearly the paddy fields around Symonds Yat are not very productive this year. Well, we finished our meals and, of course, had some more drinks before we retired to our rooms.

After breakfast next morning we planned our route home. John was telling us about a great ride home that he had planned, only to be interrupted. “And we can stop at a café on the way”, Mark interjected, thinking of his next meal as always. How on earth does Bev manage to feed him?

John’s route took us through the Forest of Dean and the Malvern Hills. Eventually we arrived at a café near Worcester. There are no prizes for guessing who was first to the counter to order a meal. As we munched our food we decided to break into two groups for the remainder of the journey home. Our Triumph and Tom’s Harley special would go one way, whilst the rest would go by another route. The trouble was Tom got away at a roundabout before us, and we took the wrong exit. We quickly realised our error and turned around to catch up with Tom, but the last we saw of him was as a speck in the distance on the M5.

We got back home and for a brief moment I considered cleaning the bike. As usual a nice cup of tea seemed a far better idea, so the Triumph was spared the bucket and Sponge treatment. I sat with my feet up thinking: “Well that’s the end of a great weekend”. I was wrong. “Come on, get yourself ready, we’re going to the pub with Gray and Helen”, Val reminded me. Some things never change!
A few pictures: 

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