Davie Reynolds writes:
The third edition of the Nightingale oldies annual gathering, now affectionately known to the group as “The Highland Fling” returned to Jessie Mac’s in Birnam by popular demand between 14 and 19 May. Fifteen oldies participated (Andy Graham, Jim Robinson, Bert Waugh, Tam Barr, Davie Robb, Bobby Boyse, Ian Russell, Davie Reynolds, Jim Smith, Jimmy Wood, Alex Horn, Charlie Stewart, Alex Cameron, Jim Smith and Alistair Macdonald). Sadly Denis Mitchell and Gordon Galloway were unwell and had to call off. The Australian branch of Bill Roulston and George McBean kept in touch online.
For a third year we were blessed with near perfect cycling conditions, no wind, no rain and mostly clear blue sky’s. The peloton visited Blairgowrie, Pitlochry, Amulree, Aberfeldy, Bankfoot, the Sma’ Glen, Alyth and a host of cafes with riders finding routes and short cuts that suited their inclination and state of fitness.
The oldies might be getting older (average age 73) but it has to be said that there are no Luddites in the team with a fine collection of up to the minute machines in evidence, including two electric beasts (Waugh and Robb). It was a joy to watch a battery-assisted 81 year old giving a conventionally-equipped 78 year old a shove on some of the tough little climbs between Pitlochry and Logierait. Equally pleasing was the sight of an echelon formed behind the mass that is Davie Robb with his machine running at the equivalent of Gas Mark 10. The bets are on as to how many electrics will turn up next year.
Bert Waugh kindly donated a fine tankard for the winner of the now annual golf tournament, won last year by Charlie Stewart over the Dunkeld course and deservedly taken this year by Alex Cameron after a blistering performance at Aberfeldy. Your correspondent has now picked up the wooden spoon on both occasions but I will be back.
The social side of the “Fling” is of course an essential component of the overall experience and the opening night goulash and soup by Davie and Christine Robb got us off to a great start followed by an Italian evening hosted by Alistair and the two Jims, an appropriate nod to the Giro which was followed with interest throughout the week. Jim Robinson treated us to two nights of superb Nightingale archive photographs on the club’s new digital projector while Ian Russell provided excellent guitar and vocal entertainment. He gets better every year.
There are always of course those unscripted moments that add to the collective history of the Fling – this year was no exception. One of the senior oldies, having decided to have an early night, was rudely awakened by some noisy night owls returning from the pub who had forgotten their front door key. Though somewhat peeved, our Good Samaritan drags himself out of bed to open the front door, which is adjacent to his room. One door opens and another closes ! Yes, our hero is now near naked locked out of his room much to the amusement of the gathering spectators. Enter stage left Brenda, one of the female owners of Jessie Mac’s, who offers the killer one-liner “ooo, too much skin!” By now a caring oldie has fetched a deep red blanket to bring some warmth and modesty to the increasingly grumpy oldie. Unfortunately this has the effect of transforming the shivering soul into a Buddhist monk – photo opportunity !!!!!
Thanks to everyone for their unique contributions, especially to the mad monk for his good humoured response to his nocturnal experience. To those who couldn’t make it there is always next year – same time same place – we are booked up for 13-18 May 2019. As usual there will be a planning session in the Horseshoe in the autumn.