As I start writing this piece, I’m checking the weather forecast for the weekend ahead. The BBC weather app is showing one thing and, of course, the Met Office weather app is showing the complete opposite. What am I worrying about, I hear you cry, it’s summer so what can possibly go wrong? Well, I am about to head to Wales for the Observer Weekend, at the Metropole Hotel in Llandrindod Wells, and there’s a reason that Wales has beautiful green countryside!

The Observer Weekend is the annual training weekend for Observers. It’s an opportunity for us to meet together to discuss all things ‘Observory’ and receive updates on changes within our training. We usually have two classroom sessions, one on the Saturday and one on the Sunday, as well as a road-based exercise
followed by some social riding on the excellent Welsh roads. It’s also a chance to meet and work with some of our new Trainee Observers and help them on their continued journey within TVAM.

Let’s hope I can stand in front of you at St Crispin’s this month and report what a great sunny weekend we had.

Talking of St Crispin’s, for those of you who couldn’t attend in June, I have to announce that our monthly meetings are going to look significantly different for the next 12 months.

At the end of June, the school started a major building project that involves the canteen and main hall and therefore we’re losing the use of these areas for our monthly meetings, as well as our parking area and slow manoeuvring area at the rear of the school.

The project is to create a 400-seat canteen and improved student movement areas at the rear of the school. Much housing development has taken place around Wokingham, particularly in the catchment area for St Crispin’s School. No new secondary schools have been built and therefore the intake for St Crispin’s will rise significantly in the coming years. Coupled with this, the school has had a safety audit and it has recommended that vehicular movements are to be limited to the front of the school, for everyone other than emergency vehicles.

So, along with all other users of the school, all parking and vehicle movements from July St Crispin’s will be confined to the front car park and this is going to require some management by marshals to assist members with where best to park and see people through to the rear of the site. Thank you to those people who have already volunteered to assist with this from July onwards.

When you arrive in the front car park, marshals will be there to point you to where is best to park your motorcycle, based on what you’re doing that morning. We will try to allocate areas for Associates and Observers who wish to do observed rides. There will also be areas for those Full Members who want to attend a social ride and for Members who wish to attend the slow manoeuvring and machine handling courses. Finally, we’ll try and allocate an area for the many people who attend St Crispin’s to make the morning run smoothly and don’t generally go out and ride. Please try to be clear on what your intention is for the morning, to give the marshals the best opportunity to get you parked somewhere suitable.

We’ll also do our best to ensure a smooth exit, at various times, for our social rides and observed rides. This may mean that we need to stagger the exit of our social rides in order to ensure safety for all users.

As I have said, our courses will run in the front car park once the observed and social rides have left. If you’re returning from an observed ride and these courses are still running, please be courteous and park in an area away from these activities. There’s nothing quite as distracting as a rider cutting across your path when you are doing a slow riding exercise.

From this month, our meeting will be in the Science Block area at the far end of the school. There is a walkway through from the front car park and you’ll be pointed in the appropriate direction. There is a large external covered area that we will utilise; weather permitting.

From September onwards we should have use of a temporary canteen that is being erected next to where we used to hold the slow riding course.

We’ll need everyone to help where they can and be as flexible as possible to enable this to work. Things are going to look very different for the next couple of months, before getting fully into the temporary accommodation, and it will be at least 12 months before we get back to anything like normal.

This month will be a learning exercise for both us and the school. Please help us and the school by making this work, as we want St Crispin’s to be the home of TVAM for many years to come. The Committee will update the membership via and Slipstream about specific changes, as and when we’re aware of them.

Thanks for your cooperation.

Barrie Smith
TVAM Chair