By Spence
“I swear I was there”
Loathe as I am to start in an unoriginal manner, I have to say that Skegness 2005 kicked off for me early on the Friday morning, that's if you don't include frantic packing on the Thursday night (PPPPPP, right boys and girls?). I'd worked out that I could leave at 0800 at the latest in order to make the RV at 1400, as I had a journey of about 167.5 miles (give or take) from the Wirral. Sadly I was far too excited and woke up at 0500 raring to go, and I set off at 0645.

I passed my place of work in Knutsford just before 0800 and found myself parked up at The Cat & Fiddle, the second highest pub in Britain, for a scenic photograph of my PX200, at 0830. I didn't know at the time that this was to be the last picture taken of the black beauty without accident damage, but more about that later.

So I was going great guns, lovely weather, beautiful scenery, picking off the towns with remarkable ease. Buxton, Chesterfield, Worksop all slipped by and before I knew it I was mixing it with the HGVs and the shed-pullers on the A1. A short run on the A57 and the world's most pointless toll bridge over the River Trent (I mean, is it REALLY worth making you stop, visor up, gloves off, hand in pocket, gloves back on, visor down again, for TEN POXY PENCE? I don't think so), my cutting sarcasm was wasted the booth attendant, so next stop Lincoln bypass.

By this stage it was about 1100 and I was beginning to worry in case I'd set off a day early, due to the singular lack of scooters on the road, but to my great relief at the next petrol stop I was joined by about six lads from Nottingham Gatecrashers. After some burly handshakes and a "where yer from yoof?" they let me tag along for the final stretch on the A158 through Horncastle to Skegness. The hot weather and the seaside traffic was making the excitement mount, so by the time we got to Burgh-le-Marsh my eyeballs were popping out looking for the Garden Centre RV. At last, there it was, and as I pulled in and spotted three navy blue polo shirts I
couldn't resist a friendly toot of the horn. Just enough to grab the attention of all present at precisely the moment my front wheel dug deep into the excessive gravel surface and shot out from underneath me, sending
me sprawling. With help from Bagzy and Rik 63 who ran over to see if I was alright, I managed to push my scoot over to the wall and park it up. I don't know whether to thank the lads more for picking me up, or for
showing genuine concern and not laughing at me. I'd like to think some good came of it though, because we were able to warn all those that followed to take extreme care on the gravel, and there were no repetitions of my Evel Kinevil stunts.

This was where the AFSC AGM really began for me, as I met loads of people who's names I forgot straight away (thanks to Si B I developed the art of just saying 'mate' or 'Dave' until I got the hang of things), but the genuine warmth that surrounded that initial gathering was palpable, and I'll never forget it.

I don't want to bore you, dear readers, with more waffle about stuff you already know because you were there, so I'll just summarise the rest of the weekend with what were the highlights for me, and I hope at least a few of them make a few of you smile.

People turning to look as we entered the camp site en masse, Cuerden's magical relocating tent, striding into town for the first pint at The Ship, the kebab shop, busty barmaids, 'bouncers' at The Castle (long tall skinny ones and short fat dumpy ones), getting well in with the door staff at Shadows, dancing like a loonball for 3 hours solid with all those AFSC polo-shirts everywhere, actually getting the DJs to play requests, the kebab shop, 3 hours sleep, muddy showers, hilarious breakfast winding up the cook until he almost exploded, trying to find decent toilets and that first wonderful poo in the gents in Morrison's, leaning 45 degrees into the wind on the ride-out across the fens, the pub that claimed it could cope with us clearly not coping, shopping in Morrison's with Dave B for the barbecue like a couple of bufties and buying out every last one of their barbecued chicken wings on their busiest day of the year so far, gingerly crossing the car park with a teetering trolley of provisions, Dave's novel take on sausages (black on the outside, pink on the inside), more dancing in Shadows, the kebab shop again, and seeing Ian Botham's face when he thought Si B was on his way back to Germany with the key to his lock in his pocket.

Here's to next year, wherever it may be. How about something central, like the Shires, or Burton Brewers?.....

Spence.... I swear I was there!