THE BE VOLUNTEER – False starts, 3 teas and that white flag

And so after what seems like so many cancellations and abandonments, we finally kick started the 2018 BE volunteer season.

The alarm was set for the most unfriendly time, but I even surprised myself with how much excitement and ‘get up and go’ I jumped out of bed with at 4.30am. Off to Belton.

Belton is always a fabulous event, and whether it was the weather, the atmosphere or just the shear excitement to be finally out this year just seemed even better. 

Arriving on site to some beautiful spring mist, Belton House emerged out of the gloom and a cheery Bede team greeted us for the first briefing of the season. Anna had asked earlier in the year if any pairs fancied joining up to form super-teams to man some of the more people-heavy combinations and so Team Phat were formed – long-suffering volunteer buddy Andy, my Badminton partners Peter and Victoria Asprey and myself headed out to the Redhill Marina down in the hollow.

The combination did not disappoint, there was no denying we were at a 3 star – a chunky upright log, with a bounce to another possibly wider log which had a sharp drop on landing into the water, with a bank up to a skinny brush and onward up the hill – wow, glad I wasn’t riding this one!

The first combination came to in, and went through it like a knife through butter – yep we’re definitely at a 3 star! Only one combination had a soggy walk home, and I only had to go fishing for some discarded equipment once. Monteberry (my Wilberry Wonderpony) and his new girlfriend Debra the Zebra (thanks to Investec) spent most of the day was spent watching the crowds stop by to watch some of the worlds best splash through on their way to a good round. Oh and watching Pete and myself pick up the white flag on the skinny what felt like a hundred times!

Given the monsoon like Spring, Team Bede had done an amazing job with ground conditions, very little mud was added to my already mud splattered car. 

Homemade Victoria sponge and some of Bede’s finest cake and fudge bars were consumed en mass and we all were thankful to be finally out in the great British fresh air. Shhhhh don’t tell the bum run but a little mix up lead to me getting 3 cups of tea, now that’s the fence judge equivalent of winning the jackpot! The wonderful volunteers who run the ‘Bun Run’ are the most appreciated people out on course! 

For those who may be wanting a slice of this tea and cake malarkey that is fence judging, please do contact your local events and offer to help, it’s that simple. Any time offered is generally rewarded with tea, cake and endless fresh air. 

And now back home, unpacked and ready for the next adventure – just completing the paperwork for Chatsworth and Rockingham Castle so hopefully Monteberry and I will see you all there.

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