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Great Meets

Posted by on 10 April 2014 | 0 Comments

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What makes a rally?

Perhaps I should start by asking "What is a Rally?" as there seems to be several different words with much the same meaning - rally, meet, camp - all of which imply a number of units meeting together for a weekend in caravans, tents, motorhomes or campers.  So I ask again, what really makes a rally?

On Friday 28 March we set off for our first ever Twitter Camp at Rutland Caravan and Camping site in the village of Greetham.  The only contact we had ever had with these people was through Twitter and the only way we knew each other was through Twitter Names - so I shall use them here.  The event was organised by @Tubbystartravel, and it was the second such camp he had hosted.

The camp was held on a commercial site, and the managers directed us to a pitch on the family field.  Other units were located on the adult only field. Both areas boasted hardstanding and it was not long before we were sited on the level pitch and hooked up to the power supply.  It was a beautiful afternoon, just begging for us to sit outside with some refreshment.  that's when we realised the chairs were still in the garage where we had put them for the winter. 

It was only after we had got our legs down and feet up that we discovered a dedicated rally field just over the hedge.  I've never seen such a field for rallies.  It was flat and I swear the grass had been cut with nail-scissors - you could not get that manicured effect with a tractor, surely.  the rally field was serviced with EHU around the perimiter.  The site is undergoing some serious upgrade work and later in the season will be opening facilities which will provide a great play area for children and we are told a swimming pool. 

We went for a wander to try to find the rest of the Twitterati who were spread out around the site.  We located @tubbystartravel who was ably assisted by @aloadofnonsence cooking hot dogs on the BBQ.  We were given a hot dog - made with proper sausages - a glass of wine, a sticker and a teeshirt each.  Wow what a welcome.  Slowly others joined us until there were around a dozen people chatting as if we had known each other all our lives.

Saturday morning brought a fiendlishly difficult quiz won by @campingly who walked away with a Kindle donated by @cover4caravans.  We were treated to coffee and cakes cooked by @SSpracklen and devoured by all.  They were deliciously home made nostalgic specials prompting more reminiscing.  The rest of the weekend was spent investigating the local village and spending money in the three pubs - well you have to make sure you really have chosen the best.

It was a really great weekend.  There is a lot to be said for real networking rather than virtual networking. Find out more about TwitterCamp on www.aloadofnonsence.net.

Friday 4 April saw us taking a somewhat circuitous route in order to avoid Swarkestone Bridge and finally arriving at the Ukrainian Centre in Weston on Trent, to join the Derbyshire DA's weekend meet.  All we know was that it was a 60's, 70's and 80's themed weekend. The Camping and Caravanning Club have a no advance booking policy, so we just turned up to be greeted by the stewards who made us feel instantly welcome.

What a contrast - every unit on the field was also on the meet.  By the time everyone had arrived we must have been approaching 100 units.  No food on this rally, but then if you don't know how many will arrive, how could you begin to cater for them?  

The Ukrainian Centre is a large field with a huge hall that was made available to us.  Its all very basic - no power, no showers, no playground, but then there is a shower in the caravan and it works well.  We cook on gas anyway, so that is not a problem.  The fridge, water heater and room heaters work just as well on gas as they do on electricity, so we just connected the solar panel and settled in for the weekend.

On Friday evening we gathered in the hall where a disco had been arranged.  True to their word, music from the 60's, 70's and 80's filled the room all evening.  There was plenty of space for everyone to sit at tables and still leave room for dancing.  What a way to start the weekend.  Saturday evening saw a return to the hall, this time to be entertained by two professional singers who, between them, made the time just disappear. 

Throughout the weekend, which did not benefit from the warm sunshine of the week before, people welcomed us, were happy to stop and chat and share their plans for future meets.

So returning to the first question - what makes a rally?  These two consecutive weekends were very different in terms of location, numbers, entertainment and time to relax.  What they had in common was bringing together people from all walks of life to enjoy a weekend away.  Friendships were forged at both events and we will take the opportunity to meet up again.  We have already ear-marked the Nottinghamshire DA's 50th Goose Fair Meet and a visit to Lyndon Top with the Leicestershire DA - all from talking to people on the Derbyshire DA meet.  We also intend to go to the next TwitterCamp and renew friendships there.

If you have never been on a rally or meet or camp give it a try.  Its a great place to make new friends and a real escape from the television and computer screen.

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Emergency Planning

Posted by on 31 July 2012 | 2 Comments

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We have just returned from the Derbyshire Centre's 3000th rally and 50 year anniversary weekend.  First and foremost, I have to thank the Committee for a really enjoyable weekend with something for everyone.  I must also commend them for their planning for emergencies during the rally, which, sadly were brought into action. On Saturday afternoon, a rallier suffered a serious medical emergency.  The contingency planning went swiftly into action with a team headed by a retired paramedic giving CPR.  Chairs were put around the victim and the first aid team to shield them.  The compere for the afternoon's events asked everyone to move back, which request was immediately obeyed, and the crowd...

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Fire and Fumes

Posted by on 10 May 2012 | 0 Comments

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At the risk of appearing to jump onto the band wagon, I want to remind everyone to check that their gas and electricity systems are safe. Too many accidents have happened in the past few days, see http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-17980441 and http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-shropshire-17981586, and it is vital that we prevent recurrences.  How safe are you? Do you have a working smoke alarm in your caravan?  OK it is a nuisance when it does not recognise toast or crisping bacon, but it is very simple to press the 'silence' button when you are cooking, and it might save your life at other times. Do you have a carbon monoxide (gas) sniffer in your caravan?  They are not yet...

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