Sunday, 24 March 2013

Dub Aid 3

Scooby took us to Dub Aid 3 over the weekend of 15th to 17th March 2013. This is a relatively new family friendly and charity event on the VW scene - we had attended Dub Aid 2 last year as well the first Dub Aid in 2011 and we wanted to come back and support these guys again. (Just click the red text to see details and use the back button to return here)

The chosen charities for this year's event were the Great Ormond Street Hospital, St John Ambulance and Wiltshire Air Ambulance - all worthy causes indeed. The venue remained the same as last year - it was to be held at Charlton Park nr Malmesbury, in Wiltshire. This is not too far away from us - less than 90 minutes in fact - and so it was almost a local event for us!

Prior to the weekend show we had arranged to meet some friends on route - they have a 'Classic' Bay - as well as meet up with some of our chums from the Forum. There were to be six campers in all, booked in to the Club Camping area under Brazilian VW Bay. 

We had managed to get a half day off work on the Friday so we could arrive during the afternoon - Scooby was all packed up and ready to go on Thursday evening. As with such events you always check the weather forecast - it was not looking good for the whole weekend! Still, we had booked our place, packed up Scooby and it was a Friday lunchtime, so off we set heading West down the M4 - it's the weekend (and our first show of the season).

This is our 'rain drop by rain drop' account of our Dub Aid 3 weekend - it has more words than our usual Blogs. If you doo not wish to read it all you can scroll down to the bottom of the page to see a 'photo-montage' of the weekend and previous events too!

It had been dry all morning and even at lunchtime when we left. It was not until we got to Junction 15 of the M4 did the rain begin. It was just light intermittent rain to start with then it got heavier - guess the forecast was right after all. Junction 15 gets another mention at the end of our tale, but lets not get ahead of ourselves.

We were pulling in to the venue entrance just before 2.30pm, at check in we received a goody bag and were escorted to our allocated Club Camping plot. We made short work of setting up camp, we were on level ground so no need for our ramps, put the pole up with flags, dragon and lights and decided to have a cup of tea. 

Due to various reasons - which undoubtedly included the poor weather conditions forecast for the weekend - there would eventually only be three of us on our plot. Never mind, we always enjoy a VW Show and we were looking forward to the weekend and the 'free' entertainment. 


After our cup of tea, the light rain that greeted us on the site had stopped so we decided to stretch and legs and wander around the site and the campers that had already arrived. There were the usual collection of Splitty's, Bays, T25's and T4 & 5's, but we were the only Brazi Bay in the village! 

At this stage on a Friday afternoon we were surprised to see that there were so many Trader Plots vacant. Maybe they would arrive in the morning or maybe they had been put off by the weather too. As you might expect we took a few pics as we wandered around the site and whilst it was not too muddy at this stage we could see the potential for more mud if the rain continued.

By late afternoon the light rain had started again, which would be intermittent for the rest of the day light hours. Once it got dark however, it seemed to rain harder and the wind also increased it's speed. The joys of camping! 

We decided to eat around 5.30pm - having brought along our own home made Spaghetti Bolagnase with some French Bread. It was FAB - just what was needed on a cold wet afternoon - all washed down with a little drink and followed by some Macaroni to finish. At 6.00pm whilst we were still inside, the site was 'buzzed' by a military aircraft. 

Out of the window it looked like some type of carrier - on what appeared to be an awkward arc - just above the tree tops, ready to make a landing at RAF Lyneham. That would keep you awake we thought - but that would be the only incident we noticed over the weekend.

As it was still light, and in a dry moment, we decided to do the washing up outside. We used the Roof Rack that we had brought along for 'Splitsombrero' (a fellow Forum member who was to collect it on Sunday) as a low table for this exercise - it served its purpose admirably balancing bowls, pots, pans and cutlery. Having cleared up before it got dark we then got back in the dry to read a little.

The entertainment would start in the marque at 7.00pm, but as it was still raining and we were the only one's on our Club Camping Plot we thought we would give it another 30 minutes. By 7.30pm the rain seemed just as heavy and we were still all alone! Was anyone else as foolish as us and attending this event?

After a further 15 minutes or so we were looking out the window at some lights heading our way. They were heading straight for us. There were another set lights behind them as well. You wait all afternoon for one Brazi Bay then two turn up at once - it was Andhoops and Tallulah. We all got out  for a meet and greet in the rain and after some minor positioning of the vehicles there were three. Three is the Magic Number! 

Fortunately, the rain seemed to ease a little as we chatted away standing in our water proofs and wellies. We then ventured out in to the night and the mud to make our way to the entertainment tent where further chat, drinking, the odd pic or two were taken all against the back drop of music produced by the three bands booked for that evening. 

The first couple of bands were OK in our opinion and the final act - The Skangsters - appeared to offer some decent covers of Ska, Two-Tone and Madness type songs in there own style. All too soon however, we were heading back across the mud to sanctuary with Scooby. It appeared to rain all Friday night.

Saturday morning and it appeared to not be raining at all - hurrah! After a cup of tea and some cereal for breakfast we ventured outside. We could see the grass around all of us was slowly but surely turning into mud, but with clearing skies and and the light breeze we hoped it would dry out a little.

As Tallulah and Andhoops surfaced there was a distinct smell of bacon cooking from both of them - even if the windows had not been open Scooby could track down that camp site bacon smell. Whilst we had finished our breakfast it is hard to resist a bacon sandwich - though to be fair we did decline initially - but eventually gave in - thanks Tallulah.

Time for a few pics of the three Brave Brazi Bays, so we had a few shots of our camp area and the mud - oh yes there was mud. The sky was clearing and even the sun was coming out to greet us on this Saturday morning. What better time to consider putting up your sun canopy!

We helped Andhoops with their flag pole, lights and flying cow before offering to help erect their new blue sun canopy. Tallulah had put up their pole and Brazilian Flag by now (no lights though - left at home) and they said the canopy was relatively easy to put up - in fact we recall the phrase 'one person in ten minutes' being mentioned at the time.

Scooby was considering the purchase of a sun canopy for short trips and so we were interested in how this might work. Well it turned out to be very entertaining for all concerned as most of us were involved in the installation of this sun canopy - which took much more than ten minutes - but great fun all the same. Andhoops did not wish to put up their wind break due to the mud - very understandable in the circumstances.

We now had a 'dry' outside area to stand and chat when the odd light shower materialised. We should of thought about borrowing Tim's Event Shelter for this show - maybe next time. It was now mid to late morning so we went to wander around the site. There were still not many traders and the camping area was not as full as last night as a number of people had left during Saturday morning.

We discovered in this period that due to the weather the show had been closed on the Saturday - no more traders, campers or day visitors would be allowed in today. The organisers were to make a decision about the Sunday tomorrow morning. This was a real shame for the organisers, with so much work put in to the whole event only to be ruined by the weather.

Ironically, the Saturday morning was really bright and sunny, but it was clear that the ground in places was really wet and muddy with some large puddles too. Obviously it did not take long to wander around the few traders that had arrived on the Friday. Around mid-day we found ourselves chatting to the guy from the JuiceDub - a good selection of juices & smoothies.

Scooby spotted an old Airstream parked along the perimeter road, so it was included in our walk around the camping area as we made our way back for some lunch. There were a stream of vehicles leaving during the morning and this continued during the lunchtime period too. We would all watch and even helped people by pushing there vehicles at various times during the day. We thought - Don't Panic - it's only Mud!

The sky filled with rain clouds after lunch as we all took our time in clearing up. The Charity Auction was due to take place at 3.00pm so we all wandered over to the entertainment marque to catch the start. 'Keebs' one of the organisers apologised to us all for the situation we found ourselves in (not that he or anyone could have done anything about it) and we doo recall the phrase 'Welcome to Mud Aid'.

Other than the auction most of the programme was abandoned. The bar would still open at 6.00pm and the entertainment would start at 7.00pm. We heard from 'Keebs' later that the auction raised around £1,100.00, but they would need to see what their costs and any refunds etc. would be requested before they could say how much would be raised for their chosen charities.

The auction lasted an hour or so and afterwards we wandered around the campsite whilst keeping an eye on the weather. The intermittent rain showers were back - albeit only light at times - it still added to the existing standing water and mud paths.

As we discussed all manner of things standing under the canopy we had so carefully erected hours earlier in the sunshine, Tallulah indicated they would be leaving later that afternoon. An understandable decision in the circumstances. Andhoops and Scooby would be staying! To provide some warmth Andhoops got out their Bar-B-Q and lit one of those 'Logs' you can buy that burn for a few hours - which eventually worked well.

Tallulah had a virtually straight run to the perimeter road, only three or four vehicle lengths, we gave her a push through the worst of the mud and she got on to the road OK. We said our goodbyes and they were off. Then there were two. It was about time we had something to eat - so we prepared in Scooby a nice pasta dish for our evening meal as the rain started to come down again.

The evening entertainment was due to start at 7.00pm and there was a 'Doctors and Nurses' theme for those that wanted to dress up! We had prepared a couple of outfits for this event and so we got dressed and took a few pics before going over to the marque just after 7.00pm. 

Of the three acts that evening the first one - Abandon Her - were the best in our opinion. The middle act was not 'our cup of tea' and the last act were OK. A few drinks were had by all. The weather over the Saturday night into Sunday morning appeared dry - certainly no heavy rain as on Friday night. 

We awoke to intermittent light rain and then dryer spells and over breakfast we watched an assortment of vehicles endeavouring to leave the field for the perimeter road. A few made it with the helping hands of others, but the majority needed some form of tow.
After a leisurely breakfast we cleared up inside Scooby and between us all we took down the poles, lights and flags. We made room for the roof rack back inside Scooby - we had re-arranged to meet the 'Splitsombrero' just off junction 17 of the M4 as there no point him try to come to the show on Sunday. Andhoops found out via the Forum that 'Dizzylizard' and 'Sunny' had tried to attend the Show on the Saturday, but had been turned away.

It was around 10.00am and we were both ready to go and our engines were running. Scooby was to go first, but before we could even move one of the 'guys in a tow buggy' came over to us and offered to tow us out - what great service. Unfortunately, we needed a hook for our towing point so he got on the radio and within a few minutes it arrived.
Andhoops did not have a tow point and so he would need the old fashioned approach where you find the best bit of grass/mud and then drive through it with some helping hands pushing. At this point and out of the blue up popped 'Billylaine' - a previous Brazi Bay owner who we met last year at Dub Aid 2. This event is local to him, but he could not get in yesterday, so he had turned up today to try and help people out of the mud. Well done him and his chum.

Andhoops first reversed to the best bit of grass and then drove slowly towards the perimeter road. All seemed well, helping hands at the rear, then the last bit. The front was on the road it was only the back wheels to go - then it did a sideways slide for about a vehicle width. 

It would need another try - reverse back and try again. This time he made it, so one down and one to go.

Scooby initially reversed to aim towards the road then  we were off being towed at a diagonal towards the perimeter road. Apart from one little sticky patch we made good progress towards the road and then we were there. We thanked the 'guy in the tow buggy' and he was off to help some one else. A big thank you to the organisers for arranging such a service - AB FAB.

On the perimeter road we said our goodbyes to Andhoops - it was 10.30am by now - and then we were about to leave Dub Aid 3. Before we could 'Keebs' and a couple of other organisers came over in a buggy to have a brief chat, apologising again. We said we still enjoyed the show, it was shame about all the effort they put in had got ruined by the weather, but there was nothing anyone could have done. 

It was the first of the three shows to be ruined by the weather - we hoped they still make some money for charity and here's to Dub Aid 4.

We met 'Splitsombero' at 11.00am and exchanged the 'loot' for the roof rack, he had also bought us a couple of blue star fish that we were searching for last May at the Daz Dub Doo - many thanks. After chatting for around half an hour we helped load the roof rack and said our goodbyes and made our way on to the M4 heading East.

A strange thing happened on the way home. It was dry but overcast whilst we were chatting to the 'Splitsombrero' and yet when we got to Junction 15 of the M4 there was snow on the ground and sleet in the air! The further East we drove it got thicker on the ground and it was really snowing a lot - cars were passing us with two inches of snow on their roof - unbelievable. The one and only time we have driven Scooby in the snow was when we collected him from Derby - see: Finding Scooby 

By the time we had reached Junction 13 the snow had disappeared and it had turned to rain. After a short petrol stop close to home we arrived back on the drive around 1.30pm. What a weekend. Whilst the weather was far from ideal we must say that in some perverse way we still enjoyed the whole weekend. It was great meeting up and catching with Tallulah and Andhoops - glad you both made it. That was the first show of the season for us - Things can only  get better . . . 

Looking forward to Easter now when we plan to be in Swanage. Finally, a big thank you to Scooby for not putting a foot wrong over the whole Dub Aid 3 weekend Roo b Roo

Here is a photo-montage of Dub Aid 3, followed by Dub Aid 2 then Dub Aid 1 - hope you like them. 


 That's all Volks!