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9th Pow Wow Belgium 2005


Poperinge - Belgium

15th century.  Just over the border from France is the small town of Poperinge suffering its plague, starvation and plundering of religious wars.

1773 Marie Antionette enters Paris to later become queen

1774 Louis XVI crowned as French King

1789 Marie Antionette realises being queen is not all its cracked up to be as an unruly mob disrupt a short break to Versailles .

1790 and well into the French revolution a farmer living between Poperinge and Watou decides to build a refuge into the walls of his farm house to hide royalists, and carries on farming and making beer

1914-1918, Poperinge becomes the gateway to the Ypres battlefields and the centre of the British war effort but the town was like an oasis of peace and quiet for the British soldiers behind the labyrinth of trenches around Ieper. Those who survived long enough to revisit the town regarded “Pop” as a haven.  It wasn‘t a safe place to be, due to the shelling and bombing but they could enjoy the busy town during the day and the lively nightlife

Back on the farm things are fairly rough but the farmer still plods on and hides a few lost souls in his refuge but the shelling does ruin the hop harvest somewhat.

May 1940 Poperinge becomes the assembly point for fugitives on their way to France who - when the border crossing closed - found a warm welcome with the local people.

Again our farmer is hiding folk in the refuge and hoping the bloody British and Germans would stop running back and forth in his fields this is getting a bit too common now.

August 2005

“ Sod It ! “ “ The’re back again !! “

Yep! He was right the Brit’s and the Germans have returned to the sleepy little farm in the Belgium countryside and this time there to make lots of noise , ride bikes and drink all the beer and all arranged by our favorite Belgium motorcycle club run by Claude, Rolly and Marcel

Were you there? ….Oh no its you again and you didn’t come last year either, so you may as well turn the page now and read the small ads

Anyway now he’s gone, the rally was great, the new venue is excellent and if you talk to Rat you’ll find the old refuge has been supplanted by a nice new one that he’s already booked for next year

The weather was good if a bit windy at first especially for those folk who ended up kite flying instead of tent pitching but if you bring a big van then you have to park on the higher field instead of down behind the trees.

Friday was fun , we followed Anita and Pete over and met up with Robin and Chris Ball on the ferry due to Anita’s ace navigating it was straight to the new place without a hitch except maybe my total lack of French when trying to buy petrol (too bloody tight to buy it in the UK). Set up and watch  others arriving, then down into “Pop” to drink coffee find cash and eat cakes.  Nice town can now see why the Brits kept hold of it for so long.

We had to smile when Robin and Chris went out to explore the local area and the local council gritted the roads while they were gone  “ surprise “ and it only goes to prove its not just Ockham that does that to us.

Friday night was spent renewing friendships and trying the local beers and just having a laugh (if you go you must try the local dark beer, we did) and for Chris Rix it mean doing a deal to disguise his Chief as a barbeque (see pics)

Saturday was better.  The weather really started to cut in and it was idea for bike riding,

The run was as usual efficiently planned and executed except possibly only one man actually knew where we were going but fortunately he has a big truck to follow so no one got lost, and after a tour round, the lunch stop was in the Belgium mountain district?  Well, bless them it was a bit steep.

If you’ve ever watched the “Tour De France “ it’s the uphill bit to the radio mast with the tricky corners and must be a killer on a pushbike but even Pauline and the Topper raced up it so no problem there.

Brilliant picnic and back on the road

One nice thing is on this weekend every year the military have a “Walk for Peace“ where all the locals join in  as the walk moves through their area and we always manage to rally into the midst of it at some stage, this time it was near the second stop where half the village was taken over by soldiers and we charged through them to get to the café/museum stop  .

 It was during this exercise Chris Rix taught me why I should have brought the bike and not used the car by stealing the keys out of the ign in the middle of the road  Hmm! Justifiable revenge I suppose But  it could mean I have to embarrass him some more! (we’ll see later)

Anyway the café and the toy museum were good and the rest of the run went as it should and we were all back well in time for the great evening meal.

And the British group seemed to mop up the raffle prizes even Pete was well sorted with some Solvol Autosol and Carl and Pauline got a radio to match the Topper

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As evening came on the anticipation was beginning to rise, Chris was getting excited as he’d heard the rumour that Elvis was going to perform again!  

Just down the road the anticipation was beginning to rise, Elvis was getting excited as he’d heard Chris Rix was back in Belgium and might actually be at his latest gig!

Oh they we both so chuffed!

In fact at one stage Chris actually joined Elvis for a chorus or two but due to the ever increasing cost of performers that was all Elvis could afford.

But the Chris Rix Roadshow rolls on and he had a few excited fans of his own to keep happy.

Sam was round on his quest for international friendship and harmony by getting everyone in sight wrecked and if you see the photo’s Rat’s choice to book the cottage next to the bar seemed to be a very wise move

As for Elvis he was great as we have come to expect, only at one point the seemed to be trying to chat Anita for some of her J.D and his life expectancy dropped rapidly but it seems with his raw charm he got away with it.

And it was a brilliant evening and the party carried on till early morning, by the state of folks the next morning most of them enjoyed it

I’m sure every year the bike get better and this year there were some great bikes around but rather than try to tell you about then have a look on the website there should be photo’s there by now

I’d like to thank everyone who got involved with the rally this for making a real good one to go to and we’ll definitely be back next year

“Oh ! Your still here, I told you last year you should come so if your sulking that we had a great time and you didn’t…   well what can I say “

Anyone wishing to join the Chris Rix appreciation society please apply to Ms Anita Dray



Handy Translation

een ander bier tevreden……….Another beer please

Ik ben droevig ik gedronken be……………I’m sorry I’m drunk

 ik heb ook een Indian …………………….I have an Indian too

dit is een divers horloge…………………….This is a divers watch

zou u me huis willen nemen………………..Would you like to take me home

mijn laatste boyfriend was een psychopath……my last boyfriend was a phsycopath

Err Ik moet nu gaan of ik zal mijn veerboot missen …Err I must go now or I’ll miss my ferry

Dank u allen voor een prachtige tijd……………………Thank you for a great time

Keith Bird          

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