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Toad in the Hole 2006

Toads and Dogends, 10th to 12th November 2006

The Tunnel Inn, Coates, near Cirencester.

This rally we attended as members of Moonshiners MCC, and no doubt Bod has posted a brilliant write-up on that website, but I thought I would add my bit here as well.

Another good rally site - the disadvantage, this time, being that it was down a long unmade track and the local taxis insist on picking up passengers on the main road. The Moonshiners prefer to use local transport (where available) or taxis on their forays into town; once bakeries, supermarkets and camping shops have been checked out, it is the turn of local hostelries (those serving decent beer, anyway).

The trouble with rallies in the South is, the price of beer once you leave the rally site.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Most of the club travelled down on Friday lunchtime, but JJ was working and by the time he got home it was too late. Instead, we set off early Saturday morning - and we avoided the downpours of Friday night, although the mud remained. We decided to leave the bike on the gravel in front of the pub, and carry everything across the rally field - a wise move. More than one bike came a cropper on the wet grass and mud around the site.

It was a nice pub, but quite small inside, with alcoves and small seating areas. The handout had said that the pub restaurant was offering a rally menu, but it read more like an M & S food advert with prices to match. However, a number of bikers had the rabbit stew and said that it was excellent!

We did not see the canal tunnel referred to in the name of the pub, but we did find the canal - even if it only contained water for part of its length.

It stayed mostly dry for our walk, and the scenery was excellent - as was the company. We even found a stone tower, in a state of disrepair, but with a large yew tree next to it. All sorts of theories were put forward as to its history and the reasons for its decline, we even thought it might make an unusual clubhouse!

The idea had originally been to walk along the canal to a pub that we had heard was in the area. We had still not found it after walking for over half an hour, so decided to return to the site and head for town before we ran out of time and daylight. That is the only trouble with rallies at this time of year - so much to do but limited daylight hours.

There was a large marquee, filled with tables and seating, that was in use all weekend (it was also the control tent). At night, the doors at the back opened into the barn where there was a bar and dance floor and a disco till late on both nights.

It was a traditional rally, with silly games (well supported) and trophies (Moonshiners won the club trophy). There was also a brazier kept burning all night, with plenty of wood piled nearby, a food van with reasonable prices and real ale: there was even one at a special rally price of 1.90 per pint.

As it turned out, this was to be our last rally in 2006. Christmas and New Year parties to look forward to now (most clubs seem to be having them), and then it won't be long before the rally season gets into full swing again. There are rallies being held every month of the year, I know, but I have a feeling that the Moonshiner's rally in March will be our first for 2007! Rallies whose name includes the word 'frozen' and reference to various body parts, are becoming less attractive - especially when they are accompanied by 'extreme weather' warnings.

Enjoy your Christmas break - look forward to seeing you in a rally field somewhere, next year.