And now for something completely different. If 10CC was a music band, then 10'C' stands for the "Coltness Car Club Committee & Challenge Commissioners, Curry Connoisseurs & Cultural Carry-OK" section whereby a traditional social gathering immediately pre-dates the official debrief after an event organised by said club, in this case the recent McRae Gravel Challenge. Such a gathering was called for last night, and advance warning sent out.
Forewarned, the quaint and normally tranquil village of Stonehouse in deepest ,darkest central Lanarkshire prepared for the onslaught as 10'C' booked their traditional post-rally curry night in 'The Indian Times'. The last time they were here, many of the locals fled to the church and the chapel for sanctuary, and the restaurant was closed for a week for redecoration afterwards.
This time they were prepared. There's an extra skip at the side of the restaurant while on the other side, the Sooth Lanarkshire Cooncil roadsweeper truck is primed and ready to clean up afterwards.
As the Bears arrive from their remote corners of the county, nothing that moves, and is remotely edible, is safe. Only a flicker of curtains denotes that the good folks of Stonehouse are in residence.
Sixteen of the Bears are booked in for the repast. Seated and poised, elbows raised, fists full of cutlery and napkins tucked into collars. The arrival of a pallet load of poppadoms and cauldron of spiced onions activates the entirely instinctive and natural 'Bear Launch Control' system. Elbows a-blur and cutlery rattling like the timing chain on a knackered auld Mini dissipates the hors d'oeuvres like un-gloved fingers on a hot turbo.
The mixed pakora is delivered by dump truck and the sauce poured from a large wheelbarrow into the feed bowls. It too disappears quicker than a blazer wearer in a room full of nylon track suits. There is no talking, this serious business is conducted in silence apart from the clatter of aluminium utensils on teeth and fang.
The main course dishes are licked clean, the gleaming chicken bones have been sucked dry and yellow stains mark the passing of the pilau rice. The ice cream sweet also performs a magical vanishing act followed by tin mugs of coffee quaffed down with a massed slurping that would drown the Falls of Clyde.
The bill is presented at arm's length, but the Bears are sated now. Peaceful, and almost human. Paper and coin is counted into the proferred hand. Accepted gracefully and thanked profusely. No furniture broken, just curry stained cloths, floors, walls and ceilings, like a farmer's slurry spreader had passed through. On departing, the Bears walk past the bowl of mints on the counter. Each taking a handful as they depart, into the night.
The locals heave a sigh of relief. The Indian Times is still standing and the hamlet is safe - till next time.
Now they're ready for the rally debrief on Monday night.