Saturday 19 to Sunday 20 December 1998, there was a good turn out this
year and the weather was probably the best ever. Smoth,Robbo and Mark Odlum were about half an hour
behind us but we all met up just before Rodmell. We all piled into the Abergaveny Arms and had a
good meal and plenty of drinks. Mick made us leave early so that we would get to the Singing Kettle
in time. My helicopter balloon was a bit flacid at Southease! Struggled up Beddingham Hill where a
hang glider pilot was practicing takeoffs, he probably thought he'd have no spectators and then 20
of us turned up to watch!We trudged onto Firle Beacon and met Dave Holmes and Neil Smith there.
There were valiant efforts to get six on the trig' point but to no avail! Just before Alfriston,the
fireworks were let off and the welding powder went up as well. We just about fitted into the Singing
Kettle and the heat was incredible in there! Best cup of tea of the year and some lovely Christmas
cake as well. Steve Willis, being the lightweight he is, was picked up by Sam and driven home! Then it
was time to put up the tents and I was at a disadvantage here as I'd only put my new tent up once and
I'd lost the instructions! I got it up OK but had a whole tent pole left over!Luckily Bob and Ian
sussed it out, thank you chaps. It was a good night in the Smugglers, Cloughie drove down and at first
we thought that no singing was going to happen. Unfortunately the local lady had her keyboard plugged
in and away they went! We tried and tried to have the twelve days of Christmas put off but inevitably
it happened and the tuneless dirge that is the Five Gold Rings rangout around Alfriston! It has to be
heard to be believed.
When everyone got back to the tents the singing continued and descended into something resembling the chaos theory! I'll never forget Mick marching around shouting "star of wonder". I made the mistake of bringing my two season sleeping bag and was frozen all night,I don't think I was the only one though. Apparently Bob Adams was too hot and even had to open the tent and take his hat off, cheers for that Bob!
The Tudor Tea Rooms opened up for us and the breakfast was brilliant, some of the wives turned up and eventually everyone went their separate ways, Ian,Pete, Bob and Smoth walked the scenic way to Berwick.
People taking part were...Ian Maskell, Peter Maskell, Bob Adams, Peter Scovell, Steve Willis, Michael Smith (smoth), John Robinson, Mark Odlum, Mick Bish, Phil Bish, Peter Nye, Adrian Backshall (ted),Dave Holmes, Neil Smith, Peter Cuthbert, Peter Oades, Jamie Springham, Mark Blois-Brook, Fitz, Chris Bishop.