Monday 28th December 2015

Just in case any Horse Boxes did turn up we left the South Downs quite early and headed, first to a BP petrol station on the A23 to buy some LPG and then to a carpark on the edge of Bramber where Allan started to work on the new EHU cables and whilst the generator was putting a little more power into the batteries, Dorothy did some vacuum cleaning.

In the early afternoon we made our way to Steyning for the East Sussex Centre of the Caravan Club's New Year Celebrations. We were greeted by Malcolm G. and guided to our pitch by Steve H. Many old (long term) friends and some who have been away with other centres for a few years (Jon and Sue B.) were parking their motorhomes and caravans and getting the hall ready for the celebrations.

It is quite interesting to see that each year more and more caravanners are changing to motorhomes.

In the evening we went to the hall for the welcome evening and bought tickets for the Curry and Chinese meal on Wednesday evening. We were invited to the table of Margaret and Robert W. whom we have spent several previous years with and later we were also joined by Jeanette and Graham M. whom we met last year and the 6 of us sat together most nights. It was good to be together again this year and we all caught up with what we had each done since we last met, where we had all been and whether motorhomes were built substantially enough for full time living. As we spend 8 times as long in ours as they do in theirs, should we have a new motorhome every year - if only the finances would allow it (no chance).

Tuesday

Rain and high winds last night - when will the weather improve? Well at least it's not snowing or frosty (I now hear Liz H groaning!!).

A quiet morning today and whilst checking the emails Allan finds one from the BP filling station and that there is a survey. Filling in the survey gives entry into a prize draw and there is a chance to win 100,000 nectar points worth £500, now that would be a nice end to the year (fat chance)!!!

As the New Year's Eve Dinner is so special, tonight we have "Practice Night" to make sure that we can stand the pace.
Well, any excuse for yet another party!!! Tonight we have been asked to wear something Pink!
Well done Malcolm G...

The seating tonight is by prearranged table-plan and we are pleased to find that we are with Robert and Margaret again. Sadly Jeanette and Graham are seated on another table. Although we generally only see them once a year, we really look forward to meeting up with them all.

The meal tonight is chicken in a honey and mustard sauce with roasted potatoes and mixed veg, followed by a selection of deserts. All very tasty and wine was included.
Tonight's kitchen team received so much applause that it was almost a standing ovation.

Dorothy bought the raffle tickets for the New Year raffle, lets hope that our luck will be better than on our last trip in France.

After the meal we were entertained by "2 Bro" who were a very good saxophone and vocals duo.
Most of the club members danced the night away until midnight when it was all to soon to return to our caravans and motorhomes, don't forget this is only a practise!!!

And "Mr. Blobby" came too!!!

Wednesday

We got up quite late today, we are not saying what time as it would make us look very lazy indeed. We had another quiet morning. As the weather looked like it was going to rain we didn't venture outside but we saw John and Jan P. set off for a walk and thought to ourselves that as he as just recovered from a major heart operation and is still going out for a winter time walk then we should at least be a little brave and give it a try. Then it started to rain so we felt warm and cosy with the fire on and thought about John and Jan and hoped that they didn't get too wet.

During the afternoon Allan did some work on our photographs. Also in the afternoon we found a Facebook message regarding the Rother Valley Railway, the extension to the Kent and East Sussex Railway. This is one of Allan's favourite projects and as they are having a raffle to repair a steam engine, he invested some money in five of their raffle tickets. So now we can either win a new caravan or a steam engine. No only joking, it is probably a fluffy penguin or a dinner on a train! Time will tell. Taking part is the important thing, winning is of course nice but supporting these projects is also a bonus.

It is the evening for the Curry and Chinese meals. We are both having the curry and the meal is followed by "Evening at the Casino". Milk bottle tops as money and the gaming tables manned by club members. It is not serious and is only a way of mixing and mingling and meeting other members new and old. Five times Allan bet on number 36 on the Roulette and lost, Dorothy had better luck on the Pontoon "21's" table. But of course in the end we both lost all of our bottle tops!

Afterwards somebody had found some videos of past caravan rallies, one was from the summer of 2002 and so this makes us all feel old and soon another year is passing us by.

Thursday

Full on Black Tie Dinner tonight with dancing until the early hours and so a slow, lazy day is in order today. Dorothy set to and ensured everything was ready for tonight, including trying to remember how to tie Allan's "proper" Bow Tie and having a practice run! She had not had to do this since the W&P Centenary Dinner back in January 2015!!

So, tonight is the biggie. Allan is dressed up in Dinner Suit, polished shoes and a proper bow tie (not one with an elastic band round the back) and is very pleased with it. Dorothy wears black velvet and silver sequins together with her black and diamond (wish they were!!) satin evening shoes and so we are all set to start the evening with the Chairman's champagne reception.

We go for official photographs first and then on to the Chairman's Reception. Kiss the Chairman, well it is a lady this year and shake hands with her husband.
Then we are served champagne and orange juice but we much preferred it when Bill S came around for top up's with neat champagne!

At 7:30 Vice Chairman Steve H announces "dinner is served" so we all progress to the main hall and wait by our tables for the Chairman and her husband to be clapped in, in the traditional manner.

We are pleased to be on the table with Sheila and Peter L and their family. Allan, Brian and Lee

A starter of pate or melon, followed by a very hot and tasty Roast Beef dinner, ending with a selection of home made desserts, coffee and mints.
A special mention must be made here for Mr Gerry B who served the peas - he did it well and in his own words he "served them all greenside up". He is our hero of the evening!

After a superb meal expertly served to our tables it was time to draw the raffle.
Dorothy won the cream ceramic pot in the centre of the picture which contained Blue Hyacinths. This is destined for her Mum's conservatory!

We all then danced to the Clint William's disco until we were "treated" to the Strictly Caravan Club Dance Group who were joined by "Chantelle" and of course "Mr. Blobby"!

(middle photo credit J Beer)

The evening seemed to whizz by and suddenly we were counting down to midnight, the balloons were let down from the ceiling, the party poppers and streamers were pulled and we sang the Burns poem Auld Lang Syne, welcoming in the New Year 2016 in the traditional East Sussex Centre of the Caravan Club way.

The New Year was started with Brandy, Port and Liqueur's and tables full of cheese pate and biscuits. The East Sussex Centre of the Caravan Club certainly know how to celebrate and do things extremely well.

Our thanks to the Chairman Sandy H and the Committee and their partners for such a wonderful New Year Rally.

Dancing continued into the morning until it was just a few stragglers left around 3 a.m. to say goodnight.
Every picture tells a story "Allan is knackered"

We made our way back to our motorhome tired but happy!

 

And what a year it has been.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(There Dorothy, I got all of the exclamation marks this time!)

 

We hope you have enjoyed travelling with us during 2015 and who knows where 2016 will lead us......................

 

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