Friday 28th August

A double-butted sort of evening, you might say. A manganese-molybdenum, carbon steel sort of night which will ensure strength, flexibility, durability and go-faster stripes all thrown in. Le Tour starts today and our welsh representative will be unable to join the peloton due to difficulties with his bottom bracket. ARJ has, instead opted for the less famous Tour de Grande Cumbrae, which will have fewer entrants but nonetheless, a keen contest.

Green jersey aspirant John Shepherd has had his chain-ring checked and his back cogs are greased and ready for spinning.

King of the Mountains in the spotted jersey is hotly tipped for stardom and Mike Hawkins has been polishing his cotter-pins and making sure his cleats fit.

T Gwyn was away having his headset aligned with Uranus and Dafydd meanwhile opts for the security of the Sturmey Archer hub gears ( 7-speed mind). Further references to chain-gangs, dynamo, links, tape, saddle-sores etc. etc. are inevitable as we pedal along through the evening.

But, we start with an apology. Previous reports from this correspondent have call Bee, Bea.This will cease now that I have realised my error. Sorry.  So, first to be counted out for the time-trial was JS, who got into his cadence right quick with a R McTell number that was preceded by a tune about a small town in Aberdeenshire ( with a castle) and a good-looking lassie. Michael had a puncture caused by a broken nail. Those bloody farmers are a menace. A loon zoomed in late all the way from the west coast. No yellow jersey yet. A  Donovan song, Colours, opened Mike’s first session followed by a song by Ewan MacColl’s I’m a free-born man. Mike had the points leader’s green jersey on. ARJ gave us a medical report on his left thumb. Bladed article 1- ARJ 0. And it will always be thus.

Dafydd gave us Dylan Thomas’ poem,” The force that through the green fuse drives the flower”. Next was a poem of a type called Emlyn? You get alliteration, 4 lines and 30 syllables. A restrictive narrative that is a bit like a Haiku. There are competitions in this form.

Julia was next, a lady- hurrah! We had the pleasure of the Richard Thompson Down where the Drunkards Roll. Then a Cat Stevens number called Sad Lisa. Splendid stuff Julia and please return next week. ARJ was watching the rear wheels of the group from the sag wagon. John Warburton came to the front with a song about drowning. First fatalities of the evening I think.  One about barges or was it bargees next up? Glenys was a bit late, but had a good excuse. Note that Glenys has requested the return of Gordon. Carol was up next with “I think I’ve caught a cold”. A lament for how things are at the mo. Chas and Jan have something in their saddlebags, maybe for next week, if the 3-in-1 works.

Gaffer’s prodigious memory was next. After his forensic examination of ARJ’s photo, and his few tips on Photoshop he came over all necessary about the price of fish- I think!

The second was a story about the Jones clan, from Wales, apparently. Morris, possibly . Maybe Morlais. Anyway Nick Jackson next, freshly returned from his career on BBC South Wales, and a new haircut. Cyclists are supposed to go faster after shaving their legs. I’m not sure that a trim is going to add much to his PB times. Nick started off playing by ear. A Dick Ridley song. Maybe Wrigley. Whoever, ‘tis NJ himself. A song about outer space followed. About an old-fashioned chocolate bar.

David Hych was sounding OK and got off in country style. A song by G Lightfoot that I’ve not heard before. Jim Reeves was next with a heartache following me.

Natasha was in and promised a poem in the second half. Red cards were brandished before ARJ. Not sure why or what the transgression was but we had a parting written by Mary O’Hara. She moves through the fair was next. The identity of the man from the Bee what used to do this was a topic for debate. Answers on a postcard etc.

There followed an experiment in unison on the union canal and the waiting for the starter to fire his gun- BANG. The king of the mountains was next on the big ring to get through the fields of Athenry. A new song for Mike and very nice it was too. A real double-clanger, and I pass the baton on to Mike for another rendition soon.

Natasha gave us a short explanation about her poem. She tried to explain the context of her rendition of the legend of Cinderella. “If Cinderella were a Liberal”. She borrowed a few lines from Jaberwocky and it was lovely to hear. More please. And soon.  Julia had a little one by Cat Stevens called Into White from the Tea and the Tillerman album. John continued the Stevensfest with Father and Son. A sort of tandem presentation. Double butted like. Carol had a more serious poem for her second session. We don’t know, and indeed, we don’t. But ARJ wanted to put it to music. We will see. Gaffer next and someone called the police, as it were. The gendarme to be precise. These public servants do such fine service over the entire course of Le Tour.

Nick Jackson finished us off in fine style with a Bob Geldof joke about an Orang Utang who has no friends. Said ape was looking for love, anywhere, wherever, whoever. And it made the papers, the ape found true love. Another fine and varied night with a real enthusiasm all round. A big thank you to John and Leslie for keeping the wheels turning and the spokes were as tight as a drum tonight. ARJ shared the recording link somehow- I don’t know either. Plenty of downhills and stuffing the Echo up yer jumper. May the wind be always at your back.

Sharp eyed members will see that we have eschewed the array of photos of the usual suspects. The six images are of parts of well-known CD covers. No prizes, just an exercise in recall.

See you next week, EmmCee  (and below is the recording of last night’s fun.)

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