This year as most will know is the Clubs 21st Birthday and we set out at Stoneleigh to start the celebrations.
Andy & I reached the showground early on Saturday morning to start with the preparations. We had lots to do (including emptying the well-stocked trailer).
There were gazebos to put up, the bunting to hang and all the balloons to blow up with helium (there were some strange Donald Duck impersonations during this time). Thanks to all those who helped with these, especially Jill McEwan and Sandy, they got the balloon blowing up off to a fine art and we soon had a tent full of them.
The next thing to do was to make sure we didn't drop the cake, well it took me a week to make W! The bubbly definitely had to be kept cool as well.
By early evening there was quite a gathering and we all settled down to our first BBQ of the Merlin season, very tired but ready for the next day.
The AGM took place at 12 noon on Sunday, no problem this year with the conference hall; we double-checked it was open. Various items discussed but the main one was the impending launch of the website. This is now, as most will know, up and running. You will find it on www.merlinoc.co.uk
Well worth a surf around and I'm sure those who can will add information or interesting news to keep it up to date.
We had a good social year last year and this year with the birthday celebrations we were hoping for another.
Sunday at 3,30pm was the official cake cutting ceremony. We were really pleased at the number of members who attended. Everyone seemed to join in with the occasion and 1 know we filled over 50 glasses with bubbly, so thanks you to all those who came, those who couldn't make it missed a treat.
The cake was cut by Val Harris, who was one of the founder members all those years ago, I wonder if she realised what she had started then? Thank you, Val for that.
We spent the rest of the afternoon in a bubbly haze, and consumed a vast amount of cake. But this was only the beginning, the night was young, there was a BBQ to prepare.
I'm pleased to say that a record number stayed over for the BBQ and continued with the celebrations. We all thoroughly enjoyed ourselves and we were probably a bit worse for wear the next day, must have been that glass of water. Andy finished in his usual style, asleep in the corner, nothing new there.
I think Nita is in there somewhere!!!!
Monday started a bit hazy, but we were soon back to our normal wide-awake selves. Well we had to be awake to take the subs and also try to sell some goodies; there are still some T-shirts so don't forget 1 can post then out in time for that extra Xmas pressie.
1 hope all those renewing their membership have received their Commemorative Plaque, please let Amanda, Barry or Helen know so that we can make sure you have one.
The weather was kind to us once again apart from the wind that kept taking the balloons off for a ride, some just missing the low flying aircraft (well it looked like they were).
The weekend was coming to a close and everyone was packing up his or her tents etc, we packed up our trailer tent for the last time, we sold it when we got home.
Next year you will see us in a little navy & yellow dome tent, so we will need to borrow someone else's awning in 2004.
After a wonderful weekend we all said our goodbyes, but not for long as some of us were off to Normandy in a few weeks time. But that's another story.
Thanks to all who made it a memorable weekend, we all look forward to seeing you at Stoneleigh in 2004.
Remember Stoneleigh is the best place to find out about any events being organised for that year or the next, to discuss any building or rebuilding problems with the many experts (those men who like to crawl under greasy, oily engines) or just to catch up on any gossip, meet old and new ffiends and generally have a jolly good time. It is the main social gathering of the year and can provide the start of so many new friendships with people from all over the country. See you next year.