We Know How To Party!

The Caravan Hospital, St Hilary, Cowbridge, Nr Cardiff

20-23rd September 2007


We set out for Cowbridge on Friday morning; we got to the bridge and then to Jct 33, onto the A4232, right, let’s have a look at mum’s instructions, take the first slip road and turn right, so we took the first slip road and ended up in the Museum of Welsh Life, bearing in mind this is only the 2nd time we had towed, Tony did not look impressed that we were now entering a busy car park with a van on the back with a number of people staring at us! Luckily there is a conveniently located coach parking area at the front of the car park so we turned around and quickly exited, onwards and upwards!!

We arrived on the Friday lunchtime to be greeted by our marshals and a number of giggles when I enlightened my mum on our journey. We set up camp and ventured to Discover Leisure Cardiff (previously Cardiff caravans), we had seen the PDQ awning, which we thought was just what we were after, something to put up quickly and easily on a Friday night to give us that little bit of extra space, and shelter when you return on a Saturday night in the dark after a few drinks and can’t find the van key or fit it in the lock! You’ve all done it!!

So we returned with this PDQ awning, (that takes 1 person 2 minutes to erect) and started to assemble it, so Tony and I, with the help of Mum, then Jeff, then Carole, and Len finally got it assembled. I am not sure how long I was actually stood there holding the corner to stop it blowing away in the wind but I can assure you all it was a lot longer than 2 minutes!!! I hope this is just because it was the first time, but beware if you are next to us on our next rally, we may need re-enforcements!

At the usual time on a Friday night we all gathered in the marquee to catch up with friends this time with the added touch of Welsh cakes, a massive thank you to Lyn Phillips who made 200 of them, cooking until 1am on the Thursday night and unlike the rest of us relaxing in our vans, had to be up for work the next morning, and then cooked them for numerous hours on the Friday night. I am sure everyone will agree they were fantastic!

Saturday morning we ventured back to the Museum of Welsh Life, this time making it into the museum itself, this is a very interesting place with a number of full size houses and shops etc for people to see how things have changed over the years. I would certainly recommend it.

After exploring the old Welsh way, we ventured to Cardiff Bay for a glimpse at the new Welsh way, Cardiff Bay has some fab eating places and things to do and see, but I decided I wanted shops, which there isn’t many of in Cardiff Bay, so I thought we would have a walk into Cardiff city centre, I asked the lady in Pizza hut who assured me it was a 10 minute walk, 30 minutes later we finally found our way, had a quick look around and then had to try and find our way back to the car park asap as we only had 7 minutes left on the ticket and we were still in the middle of Cardiff! Thankfully a taxi driver pulled up alongside us to drop someone off so we jumped in and just made it!! Note to self: in future park in the city centre or don’t expect to shop! Cardiff looked a great place for shopping unfortunately we only managed a flying visit, so must return again soon!

So onto the main event.... on Saturday night a number of people dressed in keeping with the theme of a French night. We had a fantastic Hog roast followed by I am sure you will all agree some of the most fantastic puddings I have ever tasted, in the most ample portions I have ever had. A big thank you to all the ladies at The Caravan Hospital, that spent days cooking, for us to be able to enjoy such a fantastic meal.

The meal was followed by the raffle, the star prize being a free caravan service and a night’s accommodation at the site, kindly donated by The Caravan Hospital; this was won by Ron and Maureen. It was a very well supported raffle, with the profits going to charity, although I was accused of rigging the tickets as the Kilbey/Field table did very well and the Way/Pilot table did not so well, well when I say not so well didn’t win anything, much to Jeff’s disappointment!! You try pulling a lower numbered ticket out of a bag of over a hundred tickets and see how well you get on!

Then we partied the night away with music and karaoke, where we heard a number of our members singing, who all did a great job. We finished the evening off with the usual Swift style, music man, Hokey kokey, the birdie song, Cotton eye Joe, and many more!!
By Sunday morning a number of deals had been done on new caravans, I am sure we will be seeing a lot more of the silver side of the rally field in the near future!

As is customary on a Sunday morning we all gathered for flag where as usual all the marshals received was a little bit of plastic. Paul told of the issues they had over the weekend, but not one put them off, after erecting the electric fence and dispersing ½ tonne of hardcore among many other things, everyone had a fantastic time and the whole team should be proud.

A huge thank you to Paul and Lyn, Mike and Jeanette and not forgetting the sponsors Discover Leisure Cardiff and Ray Summers and his team at The Caravan Hospital!

We all look forward to the next one!!

Laura Cartwright

Pics © & courtesy Laura Cartwright

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