The city of Nice seen from the surrounding hillside bathed in sunshine

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Adventure Overland Show April 2019

Show Dates 27 - 28 April 2019

By Ren Withnell

I've been invited again! No I'm not an internationally recognised motorcycle blogger or journo. I'm just a guy who's prepared to stand up in front of a group of people and hopefully not make a total ass of himself. This is done on the pretext of promoting this here blog but well, you know me, free weekend away ain't it! 

The only problem this time round is motorcycles have free access to the show. I could still go without doing my 2 talks. But, well, actually, you know, I, I don't really mind. In fact there's a masochistic part of me that enjoys doing the talks. It is a chance to promote the blog. Thinking more about it even though I have the choice I'll do the talks, it'll be fun.

Ren stands in front of a small group of people as he presents his talk about Scotland
Do I look calm and relaxed? I think I've pooped myself at this point. Image courtesy of Bernard Smith.

It's good practice too. Public speaking is not an easy thing and the only way to hone a craft is to keep on doing it. I don't plan on becoming an "After Dinner Speaker" or a "compare", it's just a useful skill to have.   

Last weekend, the Easter weekend, was glorious. Sunshine, warmth, blue skies, the whole shebang. Of course I was in the car for most of it. This weekend? The forecast is for high winds and a lot of rain. Well what a surprise, I'm off camping and it's going to be horrible. Who'd have though it. I know I'm not cursed but there are the odd times when it feels like it. Best put my thermal knickers on then.

I am prepared and I am braced for a battle with the weather and the traffic. It is blustery and there's the odd light shower, there is traffic and the odd jam too. And yet my journey is successful. Without too much angst I arrive at Stratford On Avon's racecourse at 1400. 

The next 5 hours are spent just "doing". I help Duncan set up his stall. Between us we work out large screen TVs and laptop connections to display images for the various talks. I get my bike and my banner into place. I get the tent up. I get Duncan's spare tent up ready for Jacqui Furneaux. Anyone who's done any shows or events or displays will know what I'm talking about. In my head all this should take an hour, experience bluntly and repeatedly shows me how wrong this is.

Duncan stands in front of his book selling display
Duncan doesn't travel light. It takes a while to set this lot up.
Ren's 500, the large BAT banner and an old Enfield 500
Whereas myself and Jacqui travel a little lighter.

As we round off the wind turns from blustery to hellish windy. Memories of the collapsed tent at Shell Island send a shiver down my spine. But fear not dear reader! Forsooth and verily I have with me my own cheap-n-cheerful teepee tent. So there's only one pole and that's a sturdy steel affair, I can't see the wind breaking that. I can however see the wind pulling the pegs out. We'll see.

The evening is spent with my friends Bernard and Andy. There's an hour in the tent and an hour or so in the marquee listening to the band. Then back at the teepee I settle in for the night on my shiny new metal frame bed thingy. I wonder what it'll be like?

Comfortable, yes, more so than the airbeds I've owned. But still, regrettably, cold. I'm getting there but I'm not there yet. What does impress me though is the teepee's resilience to the severe gale that is blowing outside. It shudders and shakes, flaps and cracks but at no time did it ever even suggest it was struggling to cope. 

Ren's green teepee tent is still standing among trucks, trailers and cars
My teepee is still upright! 

The next day is spent helping out with computers and TV screens, talking to random passers by about their trips and my own and eventually my talk at 1600. If you'd like to know how that went then see I'm Influential I Am. The evening is a repeat of the previous one, not to say that it was boring though. Much tea and talking were done today.

Sunday finally brings improved weather, typical. Another talk in the morning and another couple of hours chatting to folks then it is time to decamp and depart. I help Duncan and the rest pack away between packing my own gear then set out for Sharon's at 1600.

So that's another show done, another weekend away. And I wouldn't have it any other way. 


If you've a tale to tell here on Bikes And Travels contact ren@bikesandtravels.com

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