Bike to The Future ’23 Tour – Part 6

'Barnstorming' - Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary

Naturally, after yesterday’s exertions, we were keen to get our heads down after the gig. No… of course we weren’t. Anyone who performs will be familiar with the need to ‘come down’ afterwards. And our host at the Pembroke Yeoman understood this well. Moreover, she needed her own downtime after a busy evening’s Work.

Precious Times

So, we spent a very pleasant couple of hours with Jess and one or two of her regulars, chatting into the small hours in the cozy bar. These are the precious times. At the end of a long day’s traveling and performing, when strangers are – temporarily – your new best friends. I’ve no idea what we talked about. But that’s as it should be. What remains are fond memories of happy times well spent in good company.

In the morning, we only had a relatively short distance to ride. So we enjoyed a leisurely breakfast in the sunny courtyard-garden.  Until, eventually, it was time to leave Jess in peace and make our way to the next venue. This was Trehale Farm, a short hop over the hills near the tiny hamlet of Mathry.

Alternative Scene

Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary - Trehale Farm

For some reason, we’d imagined this to be some kind of ‘glamping’ site, populated by middle-class families from over the border in England. How wrong we were. To be fair, we should have known. The booking had been made after I’d seen that punk-poet Attila The Stockbroker had performed here. And several of the Yeoman’s regulars had reported hedonistic times spent at Trehale.

So it should have been no surprise to find a quite alternative scene on our arrival. The main building was rough and ready, with a broken-down, live-in converted bus parked outside. The surrounding yards and fields were strewn with a variety of vehicles, farm equipment and general gubbins.

All of which sounds rather negative. But the overall impression was of a place where stuff happens. And of an environment not overly concerned with established norms or rules. And so it proved.

Very Thoughtful

We were greeted at the door by ‘Trish’, an eccentric, well-spoken lady of mature years but with a youthful twinkle in the eye, who reminded me, somehow, of Miriam Margolyes. Thankfully, Trish was expecting our arrival. She showed us to our digs, a rather lovely B & B-style room, upstairs in the old farmhouse. Here, we found tea-making facilities, weIshcakes, some pastries and pots of microwave porridge. (And a mini microwave.) Very thoughtful.

Thanking Trish for the pastries, she seemed a little taken aback. “Those were for your breakfast” she exclaimed. No matter. There was still the porridge. And time in the morning to find a cafe for ‘proper’ breakfast.

Keeping The Locals Onside

But, before all that, we needed to find the ‘stage’ and make ourselves known to Adam and his crew. Which is where things started to get interesting. It transpired this was to be the first event at Trehale for some time. Evidently, it had all been going very well. People from round about had enjoyed some wild times at the farm. Including the immediate neighbours.

'Barnstorming' - Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary - preparations begin

Until, one day, those neighbours decided they’d had enough. So they’d taken Adam to court. And lost. So now Adam was starting again. Mindful of wanting to keep the locals on side, he’d decided to go for more acoustic entertainment… us! He also thought it a good idea to use minimal PA.

Well, there’s minimal and there’s inadequate. What we were presented with leaned, dangerously toward the latter. Fortunately, Adam runs a club in nearby St. Davids. So, he arranged for something to be fetched from there. Adam was completely honest about his lack of expertise in this area. So, we agreed to be back in good time to help set up. Meanwhile, we had an urgent appointment with a local beach.

Bracing Waters

Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary - down on the beach

Both Trish and Jess had recommended a little bay called Abermawr. We were warned it would be a steep ride down and – more to the point – back up again. Which it was. What we hadn’t been told was it’s about a twenty minute walk from the nearest road once you get there.

Normally, I’d be delighted by this. But it meant there was little opportunity to linger. One of us did, however, brave the bracing waters. Then it was time to get back to the bikes and haul ourselves up the steep lanes to Trehale.

Up and Running

Returning to the barn, we found this had now been transformed into something resembling a stage. In fact, it was looking pretty good. Except for the random assortment of sound equipment. Somehow, from this jumble of cables, speakers, etc. we needed to piece together a workable PA.

Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary  starting to look good

Fortunately, as we grappled with unserviceable power leads and baffling mixing desks, our ‘support’ for the evening – the wonderful Abbie Jebbers – appeared. Being local, Abbie was totally unfazed by the relative chaos that surrounded us. She’d performed here before and was confident all would be well. And, once she’d nipped home to pick up a few missing components, we soon had everything up and running.

Hearty & Wholesome

Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary - food glorious food

Adam’s crew had been hard at work all afternoon restoring the venue – post hibernation – to its former glory. There were now lights, a bar and – more importantly (from a personal point of view) – a food stall in operation. After this afternoon’s cycle/swim, my normal early evening hunger was reaching peak intensity. And although food had been promised, you can never quite know what that means. In this case, it was hearty, wholesome and very much hit the spot. As did the local ale.

A goodly smattering of faithful Trehaleans then appeared. Clearly not holidaymakers and mostly of a more progressive persuasion, they were a rowdy and colourful bunch. So, it looked like we were in for a good evening.

Festy Vibe

Kicking off the entertainment, Abbie Jebbers was magnificent. She has a rich, deep tone that occasionally brought Joni Mitchell to mind. Her extensive vocal range also takes her to some dizzying heights. Abbie’s delivery was charming, understated and pleasantly ego-free. Interspersing some choice covers with her own songs, these were well-received, with one or two apparently familiar to the locals.

'Barnstorming' - Part 6 of the Bike to The Future '23 tour diary - the gig's under way

Then it was our turn. With the brazier blazing (there was a distinct nip in the air), the beer flowing and the skies darkening, there was something of a ‘festy’ vibe about the place. Our set went down a treat. We managed to get everyone singing and a small gaggle even got up to dance at the end. And, once again, we were treated to some post-match (possibly drink-induced) adulation.

Alcohol-fueled or not – we’ll take it!