Sunday, 17 February 2013

Doin' It For Charidee

You know when you start something & you’re really not sure how it’ll turn out?
This was to be the Fury's first SKCC blatt of 2013 - & it had a cause.

The Reason.
My younger daughter has been chosen as one of thirty pupils to fly to Kenya were she will help teach the local children in a school & contribute to other projects. To go she has to raise £1500 + the cost of the injections. We wanted Holly to be properly involved in fund raising - that's part of it surely?
The Plan.
Run a blatt round Surrey & Sussex ending at my house, where a hearty if not healthy breakfast would be prepared & served to the blatters by my wife & daughter in exchange for donations.
The Preparation.
Looking through my back catalogue of .ITNs I found one that started at Newlands & ended at the Chalet. I reversed the direction & extended the start to Buck Barn, then re-wrote the end to pass though the Hindhead tunnel. Sorted. The food was gathered on the Saturday with a request for 3 dozen cumberland sausages & a similar quantity of rashers raising the butcher’s eyebrows somewhat.

Then Mrs Fury started panicking about how much cutlery we had, where everyone would sit, whether 36 sausages would fit in the roasting tray…….
The Day.
The forecast had been for fog, but the stars were bright as I pushed the car from the garage. An empty drive today (the cars having been stowed elsewhere to provide off road parking), so no need to worry about the Fury’s exhaust setting off the Focus’ alarm. Neil – my passenger for the morning arrived promptly & we headed off into the cold. Just south of Guildford we found the fog & on one corner we found a fair bit of ice, but made the corner only slightly sideways. There were a couple of cars at Buck Barn when we arrived, then rumblings in the fog announced the arrival of others.

After the traditional ten minutes of tyre-kicking, chat & randomised insults that come under the heading “banter”, we headed off. It was truly FREEZING, with a few “moments” tempering the right foot, a tin-top in a ditch reinforced the message.
Then the fun started with the usual satnav issues, I had headed off leading the posse & indeed I thought I still was in front, until we arrived at a roundabout to find a brightly coloured troupe of kits already there, waiting for one of our number to re-arrange his car to point round the roundabout rather than across it. Oh how we laughed. No harm done, we went on our way

There was the inevitable smoke break (or non-smoke break for one of our number) during which a problem with the Spartan was reported, a clutch master cylinder with air in it is not a good thing & put paid to Matt’s hope of a filling breakfast. The starter had no intention of turning over a straight 6, in gear, uphill, so Neil & I pushed it up to a speed at which first could be crash-selected & Matt headed for home.
A message on the forum later confirmed he got there OK. Peckish, but OK.
Helping with the Spartan left my passenger & I stood in the road when the rest of the group headed off, so a two-man LeMans start was called for. We caught the main group a while later after the fog had slowed them. Yes, the fog came down again, properly sub-zero, wet, & a serious limit on the progress that could be made, but make progress we did, & I was surprised how soon the sign for Hindhead came up. The route had been plotted to bring us onto the A3 just south of the tunnel – what I hadn’t anticipated when I created the route was the speed humps on the link road – sorry ‘bout that chaps. Then there was another SatNav issue with a wayward waypoint, fortunately it didn’t fool anyone & most folks just deleted it, I turned the SatNav off.

The Hindhead tunnel. Unusually we’d managed to stay together in a clump, except for Lee who’d gone in search of fuel, so we all passed through the tunnel almost in line astern. Noisy cars are of course anti social, so we trundled though making almost no noise at all – you wouldn’t have known we were there – church mice & dropped pins would’ve drowned us out. Honest.

Just north of the tunnel I left the route to run straight for home in order to pre-warn the cookists & get my car in the garage, so as not to take up a parking space. Not sure what happened after that, but Hammy was last seen heading up the A3, so he was another who would miss out on the cholesterol-fest.

As I suspected it would, the sun came out as we passed over Stag hill about a mile from Guildford. It had been bright & warm(ish) all morning. "You had a lovely day for it" said mrs Blatter. She hadn't seen Neil-the-passenger shaking with the cold half way round.

Back home the kitchen was a-humming & my wife was worrying that the sausages weren’t cooked yet, but she’d not counted on how long the SKCC could stand around in the cold talking cars. In the end the food was ready & folk were still loitering about kicking tyres.

People got fed & watered, Mrs Blatter relaxed, the sun shone, one or two stragglers appeared & all was well with the world.
All told, the event raised the quite incredible sum of £260 for Holly’s fund & I shall take the left over cake into work for (hopefully) more contributions.

So a very heartfelt thank you to all who got out of a warm bed on such a day.

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