On a rally….? Really?

1988 and a friend of mine asked if I wanted to go and see a ‘night rally’ through the different stages in Brecon and Llandovery.

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Of course the answer was YES, who doesn’t want to see a Rally?  Lots of fast cars with experienced drivers doing a 120mph through forestry, and let’s face it, the trees in the forestry normally only see a man walking his dog with a stick in its mouth on the weekend.

The rally started at 11pm, so we left around 9pm with a flask of tea, a

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packet of plain crisps and four cheese and Branston sandwiches tightly wrapped (tight enough that the crown jewels would have been safe).  It was dark, cold and no street lights were to be seen, it was the middle of Wales after all.  I looked the part as my mum and dad hadn’t long bought me a RS Rallye Sport jacket, all the rage back then, and by the way I still have it and it still fits…..!  If anyone else has one, they’re considered ‘vintage’ now and are worth a few bob!

Anyway, the car we were in ….now don’t forget

Fiesta

its 1988, it was the car that most people desired….a MK3 Ford Escort XR3i, in white with a black spoiler.  Yep I know….some of you who are old enough are nodding (YES Dave you are right….a nice car, my friend!)

Now one thing my friend didn’t tell me was that it was an AMATEUR Rally not a world class Rally with all the famous drivers and really, really, really fast cars……

Two worlds

Nope, these were Ford Escort MK2’s, Opel Manta’s, Vauxhall Chevette’s and Mini Metro’s and Talbot Sunbeams.  But please don’t get me wrong, they were fast, but a price of a professional Rally car can be in the hundreds of thousands of pounds, these cars were worlds apart.

When we arrived, a marshal gave us a small map with a time table of when and where each stage started and finished.  We drove on ahead of each stage, ready to find a spot to park and a spot to stand with a good view to watch the excitement.  The only worry I was supposed to have had for the night was when do I eat my cheese and Branston sandwiches?

BAD album cover

And not to spill my tea in the car (grey seats…..would have stained easy!)  On the stereo continuously playing from side ‘A’ to ‘B’ was the Michael Jackson album “BAD” (on tape of course), it had only been out a few months and still today when I hear any song from that album it reminds me of this Rally.

So, all was going well until my friend bumped into someone he sort of knew, whose friend was one of the drivers in the Rally, and this is what he said “Why don’t you follow me, I know these lanes like the back of my hand, I can take you to the best spots where nobody else will know.”

Hand

Well….. we did just that and we followed him, and before I go any further this man was driving a brand new MK3 Escort Estate 1.3L, in BEIGE of all colours.   I don’t care who you are or what year it is or was, even what car is on the planet at the time….. no-one sits in their house flicking through a brochure and saying to themselves, “Hmmmmmm……I think I’ll buy a new car and Ohhhhh YES….and I want it in Beige.”  And it had a brown interior.

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The ford Escort XR3i that we were in was a 1.6i and at the time it was a fast car so you’d think keeping up with this guy would be easy, well for a while it wasn’t.  He drove his own car like he had stolen it, like a raving lunatic!  He clearly, in his own demented head, thought he was on the actual Rally as a competitor.  Anyway, I had soon lost my appetite for the last

Hands over face

of my 2 cheese and Branston sandwiches and I daren’t even look at my flask of tea.

I knew things were now getting serious, because the stereo was turned off for full concentration and all of a sudden we could see 2 lights in the rear view mirror…..

Rear view

YEP, hurtling towards us from behind, at warp speed (and NO it wasn’t the Starship Enterprise) it was a Rally car in the middle of the stage which we are were also in the middle of!

In the nick of time the both cars pulled over to allow the Rally car pass, and then we moved on again knowing full well another Rally car would soon be behind us.  We were lost, the ‘FOOL’ in front of us had no idea where he was going and neither did we. I looked at my cheese and Branston sandwich

kitchen

thinking “Mother Frantony will shout at me if I waste them and she’ll shout at me if she finds out that I’m in a Rally in a normal car with normal seat belts no roll cage and no fire extinguisher and let’s not forget the helmet.   So the FOOL in front was speeding off around every bend in the lanes, then all of a sudden he was gone.  Then we saw him way ahead of us, only his car looked taller and thinner…… well, it was going

Car on side

to happen, he was in a ditch with his car on its side.

Standing on the seats with half his body out of the window we stopped, I thought brilliant “I’m going to be in the back and he’s going to want one of my cheese and Branston sandwiches.”  Luckily, he told us that he’d be okay and for us to drive on, so that’s exactly what we did.  5 miles later we drove in to Llandovery town and through the finish line with every one about to cheer but they just stared at us in disbelief instead.

Finish line

We didn’t hang around, so we headed straight home finishing off my cheese and Branston sandwiches along the way and by 7:30am I was tucked up in bed, I didn’t even clean my teeth but I was glad to be home.  I’ve never been on a Rally since; I find it far easier and safer to watch it on TV!  I have no idea who the FOOL was that we were following or even if he’s still in the ditch 28 years on!  Probably not, and of course he clearly had no idea what the back of his hand looked like!

As this is the Easy Blend, I‘d thought I’d let you know what I’m listening to.  Today it’s Michael Jackson – Man in the Mirror

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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The Horse Whisperer……..reveals all

So is this going to be inside knowledge?  It may be……. (I said maybe……….not BABY!)

Anyway…….this knowledge came to me in a mystical way, without my control…..I look at it as a gift…  A gift that I must share…. if not, I fear the Horse Gods will literally horse whip me…… and with my soft skin…. Well it’s not good.

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What do Horses feel?  What do Horses think?  What would they say if they could speak?

Well……..I, the Horse Whisperer,can now reveal the truth!

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It was a day just like any other day, I was walking in the local countryside on the Taff Trail that runs from the Brecon Beacons down to the City of Cardiff.  It also goes from Cardiff to the Brecon Beacons, it just depends which way you’re starting from……  Suddenly, I looked in front of me, the Tarmac on the trail looked damaged……. all ripped up as if a Meteor had crash landed and tore along the Taff Trail.

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I felt a strange power surge through my beautiful body (which didn’t take long….I’m not the tallest of people).  There was nothing I could do, everything was still, the sound of the River Taff by the side of me was quiet and the grass stopped swaying in the gentle breeze.  I could see a horse in a nearby field starting to talk to me.  It was as if there was a connection between us, a reason why this horse had picked me.  I knew he wanted to speak for all the other horses, he wanted to speak for the horses from the past…..the horses of today and the horses of the future.

Horse therapy

Horse message

I kept my composure, asking the horse to tell me more…

The horse now relaxed, looks upwards

“Well it’s like this Dave…… What do you see on my hoofs?”

“I see horse shoes…”

“Exactly, I’m made for fields and beaten tracks, just ask my ancestors, we were once peoples main form of transport back in the day,

Horse on wheels

before cars and bikes, before Tarmac was invented.  But some of our owners today, want to go on the same idyllic route as you Dave.   But on our backs, and Dave…….I don’t like tarmac, I’m not built for Tarmac if I did…..I’d have a set of wheels on the end of my legs.  It does my knees right in……and let’s face it….I’ve got 4 of them…..one on every corner.”

 

“The Taff Trail wasn’t built for me either,Pooping it’s for families to walk and cycle on, I’m a very big animal, and please forgive me for being so coarse with my words.  It wasn’t a meteor that ripped up the tarmac……..you see it’s me.  As a Horse I have the amazing ability to S**T and walk at the same time……I know, it takes some doing! ……..our owners know this…….. whilst sitting on our backs just 3 feet away from our arses….and they still take us on the Taff Trail knowing full well that it’s a sure bet we will do it.”

“Our owners don’t seem to care about families with their children, even the cyclists, who I know still can’t work out one of the greatest

Bicycle wheelmysteries of the world…..and that’s how you can cycle in a straight line and only get S**T on one wheel and not the other when there’s such a short distance between them both?”

And then…..in a flash my Horse whispering skills left my body and I was back on the trail as the Horse, chewing on grass, trotted away………… S***TING.

 

As ever on the Easy Blend I’m listening to some great music, today it’s Greg Laswell –  I dodged a bullet.

You can find out more about my book ‘Farrago: Ten Tall Tales’ and buy it here…. (click on the cover)

Full cover single

Until the next Easy Blend blog……….. 

Stay warm and fuzzy……..

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