CLACTON BUS RALLY 2015: RAIN WON’T STOP PLAY.

A preserved Eastern National Bristol RE in 'Tilling' livery moves forward to pick up passengers for one of the free bus trips into town.

A preserved Eastern National Bristol RE in ‘Tilling’ livery moves forward to pick up passengers for one of the free bus trips into town.

Well done to everyone who came to the 2015 Clacton Bus Rally yesterday (31st May), you were brilliant! You could have been put off by the weather and stayed at home, but you took the risk and braved the elements, even when the rains came many of you stuck around, determined to enjoy the day, and what an enjoyable day it was!IMG_0237   IMG_0210

A superb line up of preserved buses, more than anticipated and many from beyond the eastern counties provided plenty to keep us occupied throughout the day, with many ignoring the dark skies and enjoying the open top rides into town. Who cared that it rained, we’d soon dry off.

Boarding passengers bravely ignore the threatening dark sky as they settle down for a wet and windy ride to the seafront.

Boarding passengers bravely ignore the threatening dark sky as they settle down for a wet and windy ride to the seafront.

Thanks and congratulations to the organisers for a well run event, and thank you to everyone who visited us at our stand, it was good as always to see our regular customers and to meet new ones.

HERNE BAY, A GAZEBO AND AN EX-HURRICANE

Statistically and logically a run of trading at ten outdoor events over ten consecutive weekends in the British Summer was always going to be a risk, we were going to get rained upon at least once. So as the weekend of our final Summer event at Herne Bay approached we crossed our fingers, could we squeeze just one more gorgeous Sunday out of this years splendid Summer?

We hadn’t reckoned with ex-hurricane Bertha plodding her way across the Atlantic. Of course there was the slim chance that she’d miss us, but as we erected the Junction Ten gazebo under a grim and grey sky it was clear that she hadn’t.

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First came the rain, lots of it. Fellow trader and event organiser Nigel Coupe had resigned himself to wait until the afternoon to set up his stall, when (according to the forecasts) the rain would have passed. However, there was plenty of room for him to set up a table under our shelter at which point the Junction Ten Gazebo became a mini shopping mall, or even a department store with Nigel selling his models alongside our magnets and coasters!

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Then came the wind in several violent and sharp gusts, at one point managing to shift the gazebo slightly to an angle despite it being heavily weighed down. Subsequently Gina, Nigel and myself became experts at serving customers and answering their enquiries while holding firmly to the legs of the gazebo as it rocked and twisted in the wind.

At around two-thirty the rain subsided, the skies cleared and at last there were more people milling around the bus display and the remaining trade stands. Bertha, however, hadn’t quite finished. The gusts got stronger, seriously twisting and subsequently damaging the framework of the gazebo, we decided to take the structure down, pack it away and trade in the open. We may have now been without shelter, but under blue skies and the rain now gone we weren’t letting Bertha get the better of us!

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Apart from a magnet display stand being flipped in the air by a sudden gust all was well for the next forty minutes or so until the appearance of a very dark grey cloud warned us that more rain was imminent, At this point, it was decided to call it a day as we raced to pack everything into the van before the rain could do it’s worst.

The rain went away as quickly as it had arrived, along with the customers, the rest of the stall holders and a few buses leaving Gina, Nigel and myself reflecting on the day over an ice cream. Were we defeated and down hearted? No way! Between us we’d met several of our customers, old and new, had a good day’s trading under the circumstances and had several laughs along the way. We’ll be back next year.

Many thanks to all concerned in the organisation of this event, and special thanks to Nigel Coupe for his help in saving the gazebo!