This is the saga of the events surrounding the visit of WSVMCC Members to celebrate the 30 Club’s 50th Anniversary with them and other friends.
The foolhardy duo of John G & Grumpy elected to go by bike & take 5 days. John & Shona Mitchell flew & hired a car on the other side & stayed 4 days, while Bill Davies & his new wife Joan, travelled by Camper Van & stayed a whole week.
The motorcyclists focus was to catch the 11.30am ferry from Cairnryan on the 26th March. This required brute strength to keep the wheels on the black stuff as a hurricane going about its business & was no joke. As we neared Girvan we could see what looked like a whirlwind ahead of us. We scampered into the Garden Centre at Ballantrae and were relieved to see the bikes still there after thawing out but at the further end of the car park.
When we neared Stena HQ, no normal boat was to be seen, but a 2 master was at the dock!!! Surely not! But yes indeed- that was the reserve boat.
2 stones lighter- (you can work it out) we arrived What with all this farting about, we landed some 45 minutes late, & poor George had been waiting all this time in the gale.
To get his revenge, he forced us to go right through Belfast City Centre, but redeemed himself by finding a good refreshment stop & then guided us to take a lap of the Dundrod Circuit. While well intentioned, and enjoyed, it was not the ideal day to get the best out of the experience.
Then, at last, we arrived at the destination for the long weekend. The Dunsilly Hotel was where we all stayed last Irish W/E, and it is perfect. Freshened up, we two enjoyed dinner. Grumpy having a very thick chowder, a fillet steak & a sweet & a large glass of wine. He managed the exact same non variety on 3 occasions! What an appetite, & “I really shouldn’t eat that you know”.
John & Shona arrived promptly next morning, having “done” the Giant’s Causeway the day before. They thoroughly enjoyed the visit & can recommend it to others. Their visit was especially entertaining because of the gale force winds. Then off the 4 of us to the Titanic Exhibition. This is a “must see” if you visit The Province.
The history of Belfast was depicted in detail and it almost mirrors Glasgow at this stage of its industrial period. The attention to detail, the craftsmanship, the quality of the architecture and the structure and fittings, were really outstanding. Well done Belfast!
Then, after Shona had completed 5 laps of the likely Belfast City Grand Prix Circuit, we managed to find the M2 & get back home.
This, the Friday night, was to be the Anniversary Dinner. We WSVMCC guys didn’t have a lot of time to down some swally, but we did our best. Some low life had hidden J G’s Zoot Suit, which he couldn’t bring on the bike, but after the Police were called, Bill & Joan owned up.
Some 155 quests attended, all except the top table at round tables of 10 or 12, which made for great conversation. Grumpy’s photos give you a good idea how things went along. Our gift, a shield, containing many small shields on the outer area- this for annual awards. George has indicated he has a good idea as to whom it should be awarded on an annual basis.
As usual, the WSVMCC crowd were about the last to retire- can’t let the side down! A great night and a Well Done to George.
Saturday morning was miserable, and after much discussion, Grumpy & John would go with Dougie Higginson, who had kindly volunteered to chauffeur us for the day. However, we all decided to chat up Guy Martin who was visiting the local Harley (yuk) shop. This was good fun, and although we waited for what felt like an eternity before the bold lad was released by the Press, we were entertained to good music, both musicians were excellent (husband & wife) & eats etc. were available.
John M was the only glassy-eyed one who knelt at Guy’s feet. Thereafter we all went our separate ways, Bill & Joan off to Nutt’s Corner for what is supposed to be Europe’s largest car boot event. I believe John & Shona might have joined them. We, motorcyclists were entertained by Dougie and first attended 2 autojumbles, both of which, in reality, on reflection, we should have avoided. Hindsight etc.
However, our next stop at Dave & Joan Crawford’s was a different matter. JG had been twice already, as had Dougie, however, Grumpy had his eyes opened by Dave’s various bikes and his DKW car. Moto-Guzzis are Dave’s main obsession, as well as Sir Stanley Woods. In contrast, Joan is an internationally acclaimed Dolls House expert. These photos illustrate the wonderful work she achieves, despite suffering from arthritis. All the fittings and fabric items made by hand- wonderful.
Home again, James, & an entertaining soiree involving all WSVMCC guys. John & Shona were heading home the next day, & Bill & Joan off to see Helen and THE PIG, & thereafter having tea at George’s. In between times, George came over to the Hotel & took JG & Grumpy a run, which included a lap of the NW 200 Course & a visit to Portrush. George has been a great host- many thanks from all of us.
Now for the return journey- weather forecast as bad as any that weekend. Although Grumpy & I had a dry run to Stena Belfast, it was a different matter on the other side. Hellish was a good description. If we felt hard done by on the way out, by God, this was really hard. Drookit we finally arrived home. The abiding memories are all up beat- easily forget the motorcycle journeys. Two old foolish farts sitting on BMWs etc…………