Birthday, Beer and Brazi-Buddies
We’d been planning this trip for months, every since we’d invited our Brazilian Bay buddies to join us at Masons in Appletreewick, for the Craven Arms Beer Festival to celebrate my 60th Birthday in style.
There were more than 10 Kombis joining us for the usual mix of walks, drinks, laughter and general fun. We set off on Thursday lunchtime to drive the hour to Appletreewick and stopped for lunch in the Red Lion at Burnsall – such a pleasant change not to be heading south on the M6 car park.
We chatted over lunch with a couple from Pontefract who were staying in the village. Her father was from my hometown of Middlesbrough – he and his 4 brothers had all served in WW2 in different regiments (her Father was a Desert Rat under Montgomery’s command) and, incredibly, they all came home safe and sound. My own Dad, was in the local North Yorkshire regiment, the Green Howards and was, at one time, a POW in Stalag IXC in Bad Sulsa, Germany. He came home physically OK, but, I suspect, was always slightly psychologically scarred by the whole experience..
|My Father, Sydney Bellamy and the letter my Mother received from the Red Cross when he was a POW|
Back to this weekend and we drove over to Mason’s to set up camp, which didn’t take long as we had decided to travel light – no Glawning this time, so just the sun canopy to erect.
After a brief walk though the village with Boris, we stopped for a pint at The New Inn, followed by another and some food at the Craven Arms – two pub meals in one day (well, it is my Birthday).
It was getting dark when we got back to Absinthe, so we lit the stove and chilled for a while before Darren and Claire arrived in their lovely van, Yoshi.
They were soon set up and joined us for drinks and a good catch up. We hadn’t seen them since the brilliant France trip in August – a great way to end the day and to start the weekend’s celebrations.
Daz and Claire set off to walk to Grassington on Friday morning, whilst we had bacon butties, then we headed up on the fells with Bozzer. We only walked about 3 or 4 miles but the start was uphill and strenuous enough to blow the cobwebs away.
|Spotted, hiding, on the way back to the village|
More vans had arrived whilst we’d been away and soon everyone was chatting and reminiscing about this summer’s exploits.
There was a beautiful Splitty parked near our vans and the owners, Steve and Gisella, had very kindly brought me a Birthday card, despite the fact that we’d never met before – it’s all down to the power of the internet.
|Steve & Gisella’s card – new friends or internet stalkers? I’m going for friends.|
Friday night meant a trip to the Beer festival and we managed to grab a whole room for ourselves.
|Keith and Serena drove all the way from Reading to see Keith’s ancestor…|
Despite some people wanting to party-on beyond quiet time (you know who you are…) we headed for bed just after 11pm and woke on Saturday morning to a decent day and more good company.
Daz was up early and made a short video of the Brazilian Camp – you can see it here:
The plan for the day was to walk alongside the River Wharfe to Burnsall, where we’d organised a meal for all of us at the Red Lion. We set off a bit earlier than planned, enjoying the scenery and looking forward to lunch and a couple of beers.
After some discussions with the staff at the pub (and yes, I did have to give her the eyes at one stage) they allowed us into the restaurant an hour early. The food was fine, the company convivial and the craic up to its usual standard.
If anything the walk back was even better than the one there. The sun had come out and God’s Own County was looking her finest in the autumn light.
If it’s top quality photos of the autumn colours you want then I suggest you have a look here: http://skoobyblue.blogspot.co.uk Here’s an example of Simon’s work:
|See more at: http://skoobyblue.blogspot.co.uk/|
It was soon time to start the party again, but first I had to light the stove. It had seemed a good idea to stuff the wrapping paper from my presents into the stove to help get it going. (Did I mention I got presents? Some absolutely super ones actually, for which I’m extremely grateful – thanks everyone).
Anyway, back to the stove. I put kindling, wood and firelighters in, but it just didn’t want to go, much to everyone’s amusement. We did eventually get some heat from it, but the smoke wasn’t right and eventually we switched to one of the site’s massive firepits, which was much more fun.
I discovered the problem in the morning when the stove was still warm. One of the pieces of paper was so tightly scrunched up that it had completely blocked the chimney at the back of the stove and no smoke could get past it. I won’t be doing that again, although the bonus is that I need to properly burn away the wood left in it, so we get to have a fire tonight in the garden at home. Mrs B will be made up.
I’d seen and heard Ian playing his guitar in the afternoon, so he was persuaded to play for us around the fire – I’m not sure our singing did justice to his playing but we enjoyed ourselves anyway.
|Some top foraging by Claire and Angela provided some extra firewood|
|Check out those moves…|
|Tony, appeasing the Fire Gods|
|Sarah provides percussion|
Sarah had organised a pass the parcel game which was great fun, especially as there was an inbuilt quiz based on the Forum. Who would have guessed that Jane knows so much about Tim Votier?
There were other fire based games too, but for Health and Safety’s sake I’d better not describe them. Let’s just say that they were fun, and there was much giggling to be had.
If you can bear it, there’s a soundtrack here of some of the Singing. I swear I saw Simon Cowell lurking in the bushes at one stage.
Alison and I finished off the evening with Gill, James and Marcus by toasting crumpets on the fire and eating freshly made cheese on toast – perfect.
Those of you returning to your vans late at night, may have seen me sitting alone by the fire for a while after everyone had gone. I just wanted a few moments to reflect on what a lucky chap I am – I’ve had 10 days of celebrations, firstly with my wonderful family and then with a great group of friends and I’ve got so much to be grateful for…
That’s quite enough of me turning maudling, so, I’d like to end this Blog with a massive thank you to everyone who has been involved in making my 60th Birthday one I’ll never forget.
There’s a full set of photos here: Flckr
Oops, nearly forgot. Here are the THINGS THAT WE’VE LEARNED:
Turning 60 is worth it, if you’ve got my friends and family
Marcus does know how to lock off Henry’s lead
There are 101 uses for a pot of grease (thanks Allan)
Singing is harder than it sounds
It’s the photographer, not the camera
Chris needs to practise his shotgun action (but not too often)
For the best taste, crumpets should only be eaten if they’ve been toasted on a metal grid above a fading fire at 1am
If you put four Scots in the back room of a pub, they WILL declare independence
Ya can’t give’t baby booze
Tony & Penny need their regular Brazibay fix – I can feel a trip to Perth coming on next year
YOU ARE AN AMAZING GROUP OF PEOPLE
How I wish we had been there.