Written by Colin Berry (edited and posted by Tony)
What It takes to run a feed station – and Colin’s famous scones
At 3:00 pm on 5th May, newly elected Oldham Labour councillor Valerie Leach arrives with a gazebo, Lent by Steve Hewitt (another Labour councillor) to help shelter the volunteers for the Tour de Manc 2018. After all, it’s bank holiday and it’s bond to rain. It joined a gazebo from the previous year and a spanking new gazebo that had already been delivered by Tour de Manc co-organizer Danny Franks.
A happy couple of hours were spent working out how to put the buggers up and how to link them together, because, of course, they were all different sizes. String, cable ties and ingenuity came to the rescue and soon there was a reasonable shelter complete with tables.
The following day it also had drinks, energy bars and gels, bananas and Colin’s famous scones.
There’s a picture in the gallery below of the scones, properly decorated with cream, butter and jam.
The day of the sportive dawned, bright and sunny and the first volunteers were up and ready for action by 6:30. At 7:00 the loos were unlocked and extra signage delivered by a small army of volunteers on their way around delivering to the refreshment stops.
Water was put on the stove on Carr House to begin heating.
At 8:00 Dave ‘Jacko’ Jackson arrived with two gas powered water heaters kindly lent by Peter Wright of Wright Hire in Marple.
Colin started baking his famous scones… three sorts, plain, fruit and cheese. Here’s the recipe. This recipe was given to me by Alta Botha de Toit from Western Cape RSA.
Colin’s South African Scones
2 cups self raising flour sifted
1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
Pinch of salt
1 Dessert spoon of sugar (optional)
In a cup place 2/3 cup of milk
Add 1 egg in the cup and fill with oil.
Mix with dry ingredients with a knife or palette knife
shape and bake for 10 minutes at 200oc
Just add sultanas or raisins or any dried fruit for the fruit scones. If adding cheese (for cheese scones) omit the oil
The sun was blazing, the kitchen was getting hot, 150 scones had been made and the first riders arrived. Col took a break (see Gallery below, that’s Col sat in front of the house).
A bad mistake! Within minutes riders began arriving in their hundreds and scones had to be made. Back to the kitchen! Helpers (in addition to Jacko there were Susan and Iain Johnstone, Yvonne Robinson, Damian Shiel and his mate – whose name I’ve never managed to establish, John Elliot and Eve Avery) start bellowing for more scones and Colin tries to ramp up the production line. The kitchen looks like a war zone, but still the scones run out. Riders wait for more to arrive. Some remember them from last year, some have been told about them, but hardly anybody leaves until they have had one (or two).
The jam runs out and the kitchen cupboards are raided. The cream runs out and Eve dashes to the co-op in ‘tourist besieged’ Uppermill. Still the demand for more scones is unabated. There are floury footprints between the kitchen and the front door. Colin’s face is very red.
The drinks are getting low and the Secret Training energy drink barrels are being constantly replenished. We use 16 packets of their powder at two packets per barrel, that’s 8 x 30 litre barrels. 240 litres! There’s plain iced water and boiling water for tea and coffee as well. The hot weather is taking its toll on the volunteers as well as the riders.
Still they keep coming.
Some have maintenance on their bikes by provided free by Dave from @revolveMCR – We suspect that some of the problems resolved by @revolveMCR are long-standing. However, all requests are met with the same cheery goodwill that characterises the day. Someone needs a new inner tube but has no money, so the £5 cost is waived, but not until the rider called into Carr House to see if cashback is available. [ed. we have no intention of introducing a cashback service!]
Finally, it all quietens down. A few weary stragglers climb the hill and a pair of late middle-aged men, not with Tour de Manc, just out for a ride, ask if they can have a brew. They do, and a couple more scones disappear. Then the last rider appears pushing his bike and complaining that he has cramp in every muscle of his body. A couple of scones and a pint of energy drink inside him and off he goes, perhaps not fully revived, but in better spirits than when he arrived.
The rubbish is cleared up and taken to a John Elliot’s skip
John and Colin take down the gazebos and the tables and collapse into chairs in the sunshine Colin and Eve with a well earned G&T and John with a glass of iced water. 2018 Tour de Manc done!!!
…ignore what it says about Tony being the author… just can’t figure out how to change this in wordpress