Oswestry Winter 2018

IHOC Winter Meet Oswestry 2018

The success of any IHOC Meet depends on three essentials, volunteer organisers, a good campsite location and enthusiastic participants. The Camping and Caravanning camp site at Oswestry had excellent facilities including a heated meeting room; the site was in an attractive setting with pleasant walks and cycle rides from site and it had nearby bus stops with regular buses every hour to nearby towns. The volunteer organisers Charles and Jen Deverille ably supported by Ray and Judy Pym were excellent and organised a very interesting Meet. The attendance by 16 IH vans was not the largest gathering of IH vans on record but has to be the most enthusiastic and supportive group ever.

Good weather is not an essential ingredient to a successful meet but the dry weather at Oswestry certainly helped us all to enjoy the outdoor activities. The local buses enabled participants to leave their vans on site and travel either to Oswestry or Shrewsbury for sightseeing or shopping. In Oswestry there were various exhibitions highlighting the WW1 poet Wilfred Owen who had been born in the town. The tourist office in Oswestry was visited by several IHers during the course of the meet and everyone who did found the TO to be a fascinating place, especially the small cafe! Providing you could climb the rickety stairs there you could view an interesting art exhibition on the theme of WW1. Oswestry has also unveiled a statue to Wilfred Owen this year in their memorial garden. There was so much to see in Shrewsbury that some IHers travelled in on two consecutive days so they could visit the tourist sites as well as the numerous shops and museums.

On the Saturday Charles and Jen organised a five mile walk to the village of Brownhill following local lanes and footpaths, a gentle walk through lovely Autumnal scenery. They had reconnoitred the walk previously so were able to re- route and avoid a difficult muddy section so all who joined the group were able to enjoy it. A small cafe in Brownhill, “Cafe Eleven” was the focal point and served excellent coffee and cakes to the group before we retraced our steps back to base.

On one day cyclists in the group explored a little further afield, Martyn and Tina’s effort was rewarded by meeting a lady who offered them free apples for the delicious apple crumble they made for the Safari super. Mary and Tony discovered an interesting black and white chapel built in 1406 in the village of Melverley.

The meeting room on site was available each evening for the group to use. Charles had brought with him some “Vintage Games” which folk tried their skills at when not chatting with each other, bagatelle, shove halfpenny, skittles and indoor bowls all with varying degrees of success, but a lot of enjoyment. Topping up our glasses with some wine available during the evening probably helped!

Charles and Jen had distributed a very challenging Anagram quiz to participants based on food dishes. These look so easy when you are finally given the answers but so hard when you first look at the list, e.g. AS ANGEL becomes Lasagne. The competition results announced on the Sunday morning declared James and Helen De Salis as the winners closely followed by Martyn and Tina House.

Ray and Judy gave us all another challenge! Each couple were given a bag of balloons, a balloon pump and some basic instructions with a theme of the “The Sea”. Amazing results demonstrating IHers imagination and skills were all displayed and on the Sunday morning the site wardens were asked to judge the results and award 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes. They had a difficult task and the final results were:- 1st Steve and Shirley Stainton, who had made a rescue helicopter. 2nd prize to Mary and Tony Sutton for their shoal of fishes swimming in the sea and joint third prize to Kath and Lance Conlon for their crab and Helen and James De Salis for their SS IHOC ship.

On the Saturday evening we gathered in the hall for the American supper which now should surely be renamed the American Feast. We have many skilled cooks in our group who managed to produce some delicious freshly cooked dishes in their vans for all to enjoy. Perhaps we should start a van cook book for the group? There was definitely something for everyone to enjoy and no one went back to their van hungry. Willing volunteers made tidying the room at the end of the evening so easy. Who would have known that Trevor was so efficient with a vacuum cleaner?

All good things come to an end so the saying goes. It was a very enjoyable weekend and although some had to leave on the Sunday to return to the world of work, after the prize giving session there was a brief discussion about where the group would hold the Spring Meet 2019. Sadly there were no suggestions for a suitable venue and no one has yet come forward to organise such a meet. There are some volunteers for some of the Motorhome Meets next year details on the website. So please if you have visited a site or know of  one near your home that would be a good location for a club meet do let the group know. Our special thanks to Charles and Jen, Ray and Judy for all that they contributed to making the 2018 Winter Meet such a success.

Mary & Tony Sutton