It started on a train ride in India…
It started on a train ride in India…
Finally with just over a week to go until we fly to Peru we had our last fundraiser. This time we’d organised a charity Race Night at Th’Owd Tithe Barn, the pub we have used as a base for all emergancy Plan F meetings over the last few months. Having become regulars we were blessed to get to know a rather unique gentleman called Mooch (Don’t ask why, we don’t know, his real name is Dave). Mooch runs the Tithe Barn pub quiz which we’ve also been regularly attending in an attempt to win each week as part of the Plan F Pub Quiz Challenge. Getting to know what we were doing and like all others, thinking it was a thoroughly ridiculous idea, he offered to help us out in any way he could and suggested we organised a Race Night.
Neither Al nor I really fully understood how it worked but agreed to it and sorted out the date with the landlord, made posters, advertised it in the local press etc in hope that we could get as many people there as possible. A last minute dash around town had proved fruitfull and we now had a shed load of really good prizes to give away on the night. We’d been asking Mooch what else we needed to do prior to the night and he just kept telling us not to worry about it and just sell all our horses before the night for £5 and if we could, sell the jockey’s for £5 too. Turns out Mooch is even more laid back than us two!
All the horses and all the jockeys sold out in a matter of a couple of days and so we were all set. Mooch casually arrives 10 minutes before its about to start, sets up, briefly explains to me that I’m the bookie and how it worked and we were off. Mooch gets on the PA system and starts announcing the odds to the already very busy pub. Cupids Stunt 250-1, Wonky Donkey 130-1. A little bit of poo came out at that point as both Al and I looked at each other and thought if one of these comes in and someone has bet a quid we will be ruined and Marie Curie will be going into administration. Not to worry though as Mooch had it covered. Turned out that they were the initial odds, once you bet on them the odds reduced significantly to a point where we would actually be able to pay the winners out if they won. I’ll not lie to you, there was a moment of panic from both of us and a few concerned faces around the pub too.
A few races in and people were getting really into it, screaming for their horses to win, more importantly I had the cash and we weren’t in debt by thousands of pounds! Once all the races had finished we held an auction race. The final 6 horses were to be auctioned off to the highest bidder and everyone of the owners was guarenteed a prize, the top prize being the £100 voucher for the Sparling. The first horse sold for £20 and both Al and I were thinking if all 6 went for around that much we’d make a tidy sum. Second horse went for £25, Third went for £40 then we were on to selling the fourth horse, it got to £40 in a matter of seconds, then £50, £60, £70, £80, £85, and then George who I’d been doing the betting with put in a final bid for £90 and it was sold. We couldn’t quite believe it. The final two horses both sold for around £40 and so it was time for the big race…
It was neck and neck for a good while but in the end George’s horse which he had paid £90 for won the race and there was a huge cheer. What a top man! Everyone seemed to have a great night and as everyone started to leave we were left in the pub with a couple of the lads that I work with and George. Kieron decided he wanted one last race and so made everyone throw in £5 with the winning prize being £10 and we’d take the remaining £20… seemed like a good idea to us. After a rather heated final ileagal race, Marti won, much to the annoyance of Kieron and Dave.
After walking back to Plan F HQ, Al and I had another beer whilst counting our takings for the night and were so surpised with the number we came up with on the first count that we counted it again.. yes, we had made £781.00. We couldn’t believe it, this was followed by a lot of cheers’ing and then it dawned on us, we had just 9 days to sort everything out. 9 days… minus the 5 days I was working and the 3 days Al was on a stag do in Amsterdam which left us with just one day next week to sort everything out. Good job we don’t like planning isn’t it??
Sincere apologies for the lack of communication recently, it seems like everyday we’re fundraising and as such have completely neglected our blog. So whats been going on??…
Well in the last few weeks things have started to come together. We are now proud owners of a map and a phrase book.. however neither one has been even glanced at as yet, our team t shirts have been delivered, decals have been collected, oh and we’ve become local celebrities!
In terms of important stuff like learning Spanish and deciding on which direction to head we are still massively under prepared, but we do have an awfully long flight to spend some time working on these ‘minor’ issues in between taking full advantage of the free alcohol.
So after the rip-roaring success of the Plan F All-You-Can-Eat BBQ we had decided to host yet another BBQ to clear out all the leftover booze and food. Seeing as how there was a truck load of sausages left we naturally decided to name this event ‘Sausage Fest’. Even when ridiculously hungover from the previous nights entertainment we found this extremely amusing and I would be lieing if I said we didn’t spend a good half hour coming up with various inuendos to do with stuffing as much sausage down your throat as you could… Ahem! :-\
The day of the inaugural Plan F ‘Sausage Fest’ had arrived and it was time to turn Al’s garden into some form of German Beer Hall using just a tarpaulin, a parasol, a knackered gazebo and some zip ties… being the resourcefull young chaps that we are we found that task a piece of cake, and there we had it, the newly named Bilsborrow Beer Festival Tent. All set up for ‘Sausage Fest’ we headed off into the town to play on our new found fame as local celebrities in an attempt to get local businesses to donate prizes for the Plan F Race Night which was in just a few days. After being a bit cheeky, a lot of smiling and in some cases a little bit of flirting, we got through the usual “are you bloody mad” responses and found that yet again Plan F were pretty good at blagging free stuff. In just over an hour we’d managaed to get £100 voucher to the Sparling, 8 tickets to Guys Oyster Festival worth £115, numerous meal for two vouchers, massages, bottles of champagne.. the list goes on.
Satisfied with our efforts we headed back to the Bilsborrow Beer Festival Tent, put on some Oompah band music, poured ourselves a beer and sat and waited for our guests. After a few hours of drinking and eating people started to get a little ‘jolly’ and it wasn’t long before we were all throwing shapes and having a dance off in the ‘Plan F Nightclub’ (Al’s Garage). One thing led to another and for a good half an hour we seemed to have a medley of classics like Music Man, Agadoo, Conga, Row Boat Song, Macarena and the obligatory YMCA. Amazingly my brother Stu knew each dance routine off by heart and was absolutely insistant that we all took it seriously and got it right whilst calling out the dance moves as he was going along.
Carnage ensued and it wasn’t too long before Al and I locked ourselves in the garage and carried on drinking whilst recording our drunken ramblings so that we could watch them back and laugh at them in the morning. Random! The following morning we had a count up and were extremely impressed with a further £130 which we had raised… Next up.. Plan F Race Night at Th’Owd Tithe Barn, we’ve not really any idea how it works, we’ve left that up to Mooch. We’ve just got prizes and sold horses so God only knows how that will turn out!
After finally recovering from our BBQ it was time to get back to work, not just to our day jobs but to what is fast becoming a part time job for us… organising this bloody adventure. We don’t like planning, that’s why we’re Plan F, but it seems that if you want to raise any money whatsoever you have to put some serious hard yards in… that involves planning and organisation, not normally our forte!
Although it may be something we try to avoid like the plague we’ve discovered in the last few months that we’re actually pretty good at planning. We managed to pull off our all-you-can-eat BBQ without losing money, design and made this fantasmical website and we wrote to a whole heap of businesses in hope of sponsorship. Even though all that had been done and was a big success, we still seem to have an ever increasing ‘To Do’ list. We still had to try to get more sponsorship, get all our injections sorted out, buy more kit, speak to Robert at the Tithe Barn about arranging a Race Night, write more letters, sort out team t-shirts… the list goes on.
The good news is that this list is finally starting to get shorter, both Al and I have had most of our injections. The Race Night is set for the 18th August at the Tithe, we’ve got our ‘Sausage Fest’ on the 13th, been into the local paper the Garstang Courier and the team t-shirts have been ordered.
The last week has seen the charity pot get a big boost, in the last week, two local businesses, Mobility Smart and Graham Heathcoate Hair Studio in Garstang have stumped up some serious cash to support us in this ridiculous quest to cross Peru in a Mototaxi. The Plan F Pub Quiz Challenge is still going strong and having not won anything last week we’ve come back stronger than ever with two wins, bagging ourselves £20 and 3 bottles of wine! Today I went down to the local Galloways Blind Club to give a talk on our adventures in India and the kind folk down there donated a further £20 to the cause on the proviso that we went back in November to talk about the Junket.
We’ve still got quite a lot of important stuff on our list though like; buy maps, learn how to fix a motorbike, oh and learn some Spanish! So, yes, there is a lot of important stuff to do yet, but we’ve still got 4 weeks to do all that in which is plenty of time, isn’t it?
The day had arrived it was time to test our business skills out, would we make a profit or would the BBQ be an epic failure and end up costing us money? We’d woken up to sunshine, it was 25 degrees the sun was shining, it seemed like the big man had listened to our requests. We spent the day converting Al’s garage into a bar, knocking up a small shelter and prepping the food. The garden looked great, the garage looked even better, we had somehow managed to turn a completely standard garage into a bar come cinema come dance floor. We had a projector showing photos from previous Plan F Adventures, music, fridges full of beer and wine and had cleared enough room for some dancing should it get a little crazy later on.
Pleased with all our hard work Al, Will, Brenda and I sat back and enjoyed a cold beer in the sunshine and waited for 5pm. We’d been checking the weather forecast and the MET Office were now reliably informing us that we were likely to have a heavy rain shower at 9pm and that it would then rain for a week, great! As 5pm drew ever closer, so did the big black rain clouds and at almost 5 o’clock on the dot the cloud burst right over the Plan F BBQ. Marvellous, just as we were expecting people to finish work and come down it started hammering it down. Everything was promptly moved into the garage and there stood myself, Al and Will waiting for some customers. Not put off by rain, like true Brits, amazingly a few people arrived in raincoats and under umbrellas and we lit the BBQ and thought, balls to it… party on!
A few gentle reminders on Facebook and Twitter and we were pushing 15 guests, not bad considering the rain, but nowhere near the 40 we’d hoped for and budgeted for. It wasn’t looking great. Deciding that we’d obviously have enough wine, Al and I hit the beers and it wasn’t long before the party really got going. We exited the garage and huddled in an old tent before Chappers and myself dug out a ridiculously large tarp from my car and from a few bits of rope and a couple of garden canes constructed what is now known as the Plan F-stival Tent. Chappers and I, extremely satisfied with our handy work posted a photo on Facebook and within the hour we had 35 guests all huddled under the Plan F-stival Tent filling their faces for charity. Whilst everyone was having a good time keeping dry Chief Meat Tosser Will was putting in a sterling performance barbequing in the pouring rain and keeping people happy. Al even started doing table service for drinks so no one had to get wet and I was working on the bar, seemingly keeping the crumblie’s VERY happy as they were the first ones to crank up the tunes and start throwing some shapes!
Not ones to miss out on some shape throwing it wasn’t long before Al and I joined in and from that point onwards it was all a bit of a blur. As we approached the small hours people started to leave, some people even came back, didn’t they Chappers? The last thing I remember was being sat around the fire pit at 4:30am singing songs and drinking cocktails that Brenda had knocked up having called them Machu Picchu and Aunt Lucy! Needless to say we had a good night. Despite the rain we had a fantastic turn out and Al and I cannot thank the people that came enough. At one point we really thought it could turn into an epic failure, but you guys made it a great night and better still after taking all the costs into consideration we made over £200 profit for Marie Curie… Alan Sugar would have hired the pair of us!
Better still we have 60 sausages and 60 buns and a boat load of booze left and so have decided to host another BBQ event, ‘Plan F’s Sausage Fest’. There are too many possible innuendos to write them all on here so I shall leave that up to you…
This past few weeks has been like an episode of The Apprentice for us, only without Alan Sugar peering over our shoulder. We’ve been talking about products, staffing, overheads, advertising, sales and most importantly profit margins!
We’d set ourselves the task of organising and hosting the mother of all BBQ’s to raise us some serious cash for Marie Curie. Not being the ‘planning’ type we thought we’d just freestyle it, after all that is what the ‘F’ stands for! It didn’t take long for us to realise that this attitude was more than likely to lose us money and not raise any money for our charity. And so, the Plan F boys gathered in the Boardroom (pub) and had a brainstorming session on how best to tackle this challenge and to attempt to figure out some of the details. First things first, we needed a venue.. easy, Hempton Towers was plenty suitable and we have had many an impromptu BBQ there in the past. Next up was possibly the most important, produce.
We needed meat, lots of meat… a whole truck full of meat, because in our infinite wisdom we had decided that in order to make this successful we would have to offer All-You-Can-Eat for somewhere in the region of five of our friends hard earned English pounds! Having honed his skills in the markets of South East Asia and India Al went down to Scott’s Butchers in the Market House, Garstang and explained what we were doing whilst whipping out some grade A negotiating skills and low and behold walked away with a bloody good deal on said truck load of meat, and so Plan F’s All-You-Can-Eat BBQ was formed!
Having worked out our overheads on our booze and meat, we did the sums and worked out that if we could get 40 people to attend at a fiver ahead for the food and drink a couple of beers at a quid a can, then we would turn a small profit. The profit margin was slim, but it was a profit! I cracked on with the advertising and before we knew it we had about 20 confirmed guests on Facebook and a few more ‘crumblies’ who had confirmed by carrier pigeon. Things were looking good, Will had kindly offered to be ‘chief meat tosser’ and so we seemed to be all set, just had to pay a quick visit to the supermarket and then it was game on….
So, off to ASDA we went in search of all the bare essentials like plastic cups and paper plates, not forgetting the essential wine for the ladies. We’d been in ASDA half an hour and still couldn’t make a decision, Plan F were getting stressed… Al wanted to spend £40 on wine, I wanted to spend £20 neither of us knew how much to buy and we were conscious that if we spent more money we’d need to make more money and with the weather forecasting rain we were unsure who would still turn up if it was a wash out. In the end a decision was made and we decided to just spend £20 and see how we went on. We both took the very sensible decision that we wouldn’t drink at first in case we needed to go on a booze run… most unlike us, we know!
It had been warm and sunny all week with temperatures in the mid 20’s, the weather forecast was still changing hourly, would it hold out for us? We looked at the sky, told the big man upstairs that this was for charity and asked that he would sort us out with some sunshine for tomorrow then called it an night
Plan F have been working diligently under a number of different pseudonyms recently in their quest to win as many of the local pub quizzes top prizes as possible.
As most of Plan F’s stories start, we were in the pub one evening when we realised that between us we formed a pretty mean quiz team and that if we combined our knowledge with that of some of our friends and family, we could surely conquer the pub quiz circuit. That said, we had been attending the Tithe Barn pub quiz for weeks and as yet had not won it once!
Nevertheless we paid our entry fee and Al, Brenda (Al’s mum) and I set forth on the first of our ‘Pub Quiz Challenges’. Come the half way point when they read out the scores, we were losing… massively. However, it turned out that we weren’t in last place at all the Quizmaster had just not written our score down! Come the end of the quiz we were quietly confident… and rightly so, we won! Excellent that was £16 straight into the pot… time for the next one.
The following evening I went to the Shovels pub with Warren and Gill (my mum) we frequently form a pub quiz team and regularly win something… quietly confident again… and again, rightly so! Quiz number 2 won and 3 bottles of wine for a future raffle.
Like Take That, only with a shorter gap in-between, Plan F re-formed in the Tithe Barn on Tuesday to defend their title as pub quiz champions only this time without Brenda, but with Will, Joe and Sarah. Dropping only 5 marks in the whole quiz, we were back at the top and won yet again… another £18 in the pot.
The following evening Plan F returned with Warren and Gill to the Shovels to see if they could retain the crown there and win yet another prize. An extremely tough quiz got us thinking we hadn’t got a chance, but with some very intelligent guess work we reigned victorious once again, this time with a £10 food voucher.
Four out of four quizzes and we’re going strong, so we thought we’d turn our hand to a game of Play Your Cards Right. First ticket drawn out… one of Plan F’s, It seemed like lady luck was on our side. However having drawn the same cards 3 times and won two coin tosses we were down to the last card and it looked like the £110 jackpot was ours… heads or tails… tails, it never fails, right?… wrong, it does fail, we were out. Gutted!
Having had their ticket pulled out, another team said that if they won it they would donate the money to charity so we were naturally cheering them on. They got to the final card, they had a three… they went higher, as you would, what comes out? A bloody two! We missed out on it twice. Words cannot describe how gutted we were to have come so close to a £110 boost to the funds and yet miss out at the last moment… twice! C’est la vie I guess, we’re still on a 100% success rate with the quizzes so here’s hoping we can continue to keep winning those.
Total to date: £34, 3 bottles of wine and a £10 food voucher.
That’s all for now.
Here at Plan F HQ we’ve had a busy few weeks in both our work lives and our social lives. I (Dave) have been flat out working for the last two weeks whilst Al has been on an intensive training weekend, living in a tent, not washing for four days and drinking wine for breakfast… Yes, Al has been at Glastonbury! Needless to say we’ve not got much done.
However, after a lot of ‘licking and sticking’, a great number of paper cuts and a near death experience when realising the cost of 50 stamps was almost £25, we were back in business. We assumed it would be a while before we got any responses, we were wrong. The following day we received a letter from Fisherman’s Friend, then the day after one from Halfords and the day after that one from the Blackpool Tower Circus, most of which were donating tickets, t-shirts or other random goodies to our cause… Nice!
Due to the initial good response, an emergency meeting was called at the pub to discuss what we could do next (all meetings at the pub are classed as an emergency, plus it was quiz night!). A number of ideas were discussed, quiz nights, auctions, raffles, BBQ’s… the list goes on. The next stage was to get the ball rolling. Anyway, Ssshhh… enough of that, its quiz time…. After a closely fought battle with regular teams The High Chairs and The Claylander’s, we reigned victorious, netting ourselves the modest £16 cash prize. Now, any of you who know Al and I would naturally assume, and I don’t blame you, that we squandered our winnings on the subsequent rounds, however you’d be sadly mistaken, it went straight in the sky rocket! Yes, we decided to throw it in the sponsorship pot… I know, I know, we’re selfless aren’t we?
Explaining that we’d be donating the money to charity, we got talking about this ridiculous adventure we were embarking on and within five minutes the Quizmaster was offering to sort us out a Race Night at Th’Owd Tithe Barn for free and there was even talk about a free hotpot supper!?! With free being Plan F’s favourite price, we nearly ripped his bloody arm off, said YES and that was that!!! We shall be heading back there next week for another ‘emergency planning evening’ so keep checking the website for further details and we hope to see you all there.
For now we’ve got a lot to be getting on with so, we’ll end this blog entry here and we’ll get posting again as soon as we’ve more news. In the mean time ‘Like’ our Facebook page Plan F – Mototaxi Junket and follow us on Twitter @PlanFAdventures for daily updates.
Oh, and before I go, in a moment of sheer brilliance (luck) I worked out another way for you kind fellows to part with your money.. Pick up your phone and text PLAN98 £5 and send it to 70070. Make sure you follow the link on the thank you text and Gift Aid it so that we can get the extra 25%, not Mr Cameron!
Unbelievably both myself and Al have now had two successfull ‘planning’ evenings without getting too inebriated and booking random flights. Which we think is a bit of a result!.
Up to now we’ve managed to pretty much nail the website, http://www.planf.co.uk, so check it out I’m sure you will agree is looking pretty tidy! We’ve sorted ourselves out a twitter account @PlanFAdventures where you will be able to follow the highs and the lows; the randomness, hilarity and the despair which I’m sure will ensue on the weeks and months ahead. We’ve got a couple of Just Giving websites made so that you kind folk can donate your hard earned wages to a good cause. Check out the ‘Sponsor Us’ page on our website for details.
If any of you know of anyone, or any businesses who would be interested in supporting us on this adventure please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or see the ‘Contact Us’ page for further details.