July 28, 2018 at 7:16 am #16006
You know it is going to be one of those weekends when, as I was innocently cruising along the A46 on my 550 I was passed by a twenty year old Jaguar with a giant inflatable swan on the roof….odd. Then I noticed the back seat was occupied by blow up dolls…even odder. Then a battered VW Passat estate swept past, also sporting a large inflatable swan on the roof and a load of blow up dolls in the boot, one of which had it's legs sticking out of the side of the tailgate. This is one of those occasions when I wished I had a Go-Pro hooked up to the bike!
Other than this strange encounter my trip from where I work to the Cotswold Beer Festival was pretty low key. With the excellent summer we are enjoying I thought that it would be fun to take my bike rather than car for the weekend, and so for the first time in over thirty years I had a tent strapped to the back of the bike. Usually when I go touring or bike trips I always stay in rented houses or B&Bs these days. It set me thinking about my life over those intervening thirty years, how much my life had changed, but also how some simple plain stuff had stayed much the same…the simple joy of riding a bike, away from it all, wending through the English countryside and not a care in the world looking forward to a few beers and a laugh with a few old friends. The sun shone, the roads ran through classic Cotswold stone villages….this really is the very distilled essence of motorcycling. Just the willing hum of the air cooled four and the whistle of the wind for company. Why people now hook up blue tooth headsets and listen to music and even take phone calls whilst riding really does elude me
On route, wondering through the Cotswolds
Anyway I was the first of our little group to arrive at the campsite and soon had my tiny little 'Festival' tent off the bike and put up; it would be building my part to say 'erected'….two poles and eight tent pegs and that's your lot! I unfolded my camping chair, sat down and waited for the others. All terribly chilled with a lovely view provided you ignored the stonking great electricity pylon we were sharing a field with that was making a disturbing hum/crackling noise. Camp Zephyr was up and running!
The others soon arrived; Andy & Bev in a shiny 4×4, stuck up their somewhat more expansive tent. Meanwhile Steve & Debs were in a old but sturdy Toyota Hi-Ace camper van. In an attempt to evoke the spirit of my inner Celt, or plastic paddy, as they had at Mach 2.5 last year the guys MADE me drink Tequila again, a good, if curious, way to kick off a BEER Festival! A little rain tried to upset proceedings, I was worried as my little tent is not what could be called robust, but it soon passed and my tent survived!
The venue was the Jacobean Postlip Hall, whose imposing frontage dates from 1614 with parts of the building predating that by centuries in places! The actual location for the festival itself was the spectacular barn that dates from around 1500, or about the same time Harley Davidson started to produce V twins.
The Barn is just down a small slope from the hall and its grounds are dissected by the River Isbourne, that is little more than a trickle here near it's source. The place was already busy when we got in with a wide range of beers on offer from local craft and micro breweries. The well established festival has been running for over 40 years and is a well known event. For my part I tried four different beers, all in the interests of science obviously! For the record…From the Blue Monkey Brewery Guerrilla (dark, rich, tasty…my favourite), from Flying Monk their Chocks Away (in honour of 100 years of the RAF), Heavy Industry's (because I work in engineering) 77 and finally Church End's Gravedigger's (Nickname of pub near where I lived as a child). All were excellent.
Inside the incredible barn, just check out those beams…
It would be rude not too…
We also joined by some of the 2015 TT crew, Ollie, Mick and Don…great to catch up with them all again and it was the first time Andy, Ollie and Steve had hooked up since returning from their adventures in South America on BMW bikes. So we had a great night, chatting away drinking real beer and in spectacular setting.
We did most of our drinking outside
As the sun dropped the atmosphere just built up…
Some funny characters about though…
The evening was a rounded off back up at 'Camp Zephyr' singing Kumbaya around a roaring fire….I am BS'ing here, but we did gather around the camp lights and chat away into the wee small hours. Good times…
Kumbaya my Lord, Kumbaya…
The morning saw us strike camp and head for a local golf club that serves a stonking breakfast which the others enjoyed whilst I sipped at a glass local spring water and sucked on a lettuce leaf…
Not a bad spot for a touch of brekky
Enjoying his full English, my lettuce was good too…
The ZR was loaded up again and we headed home wondered up through Gloucestershire and back into Worcestershire along some lovely A roads, I was kept company by a chap on HD for much of the way home. Didn't know him or his pillion, but its always good to have a fellow biker along for the journey. The ZR is running well at the moment and pleasure to ride when you are in no hurry.
So I was back home, another cracking memory logged away…cheers to all who helped to make it a good one, and above all, here's to the next one!
The Cotswold Beer Festival is held every year at Postlip Hall, tickets cost £10 for the Friday which includes a souvenir glass that you get to keep
Camping costs just £5 for the weekend
It was supported by The Purity Brewing Company this year and the event also raises money for a number of charities, this year Mind and The Butterfly Garden
The Campaign For Real Ale:July 28, 2018 at 4:45 pm #70130HippoDronesParticipant
looks a lot of fun, I am not sure I am allowed to drink all day in public anymore!July 30, 2018 at 8:11 pm #70131
looks a lot of fun, I am not sure I am allowed to drink all day in public anymore!
Sounds like you need to come next year!!!July 30, 2018 at 8:37 pm #70132HippoDronesParticipant
hahaha, let me know in advance and I’ll see what my roster is up to!July 30, 2018 at 8:39 pm #70133
hahaha, let me know in advance and I’ll see what my roster is up to!
Will do! Be great to have you along
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