Gründau-Steinau Beard Club 25th Anniversary Championships 2009
Not Andy's score
The Andy Lear Report

THE TRIP TO FRANKFURT was all a bit rushed. I picked up Rodders and as usual we left the car at Steveís house with a view to taking the bus to Heathrow. About ten minutes later a bus to Heathrow arrived but it was jam packed with school kids and did not stop, nor did the next bus and I was getting a bit nervous. Nor did the bus after that and I was within an ace of driving to Heathrow and paying the billion quid a minute for airport parking but eventually a bus did let us on and we were on our way, glancing frequently at watches.

At least Andy scores with the ladiesSprinting for the connecting bus at Hatton Cross we arrived at the airport with only just enough time for a quick beer at the airport bar and we were off. This man did NOT shave this morning It was a fairly uneventful flight other than the stewardess refusing my request to place the screaming child in front of me into the hold and not much more than an hour later we were in Frankfurt.

My first impressions of Frankfurt were extremely positive, there was a sort of 'Mekon tube' where you could have a cigarette whilst waiting for your bags on the carousel. BAA take note and donít lie to us about European directives any more. I called Dan from the Mekon tube and he (having hired a car) came and drove us to the hotel, which was called Route 66. This was apparently the cheapest hotel (well it called itself a motel) in the area and as such was pretty booked up with beardies, predominantly the Berlin and Schömberg Beard Clubs.

We stopped off en-route at a small town for lunchtime beer, and arriving at the hotel Rod brought out a bottle of scotch he had bought at the airport. Whilst taking a brief break from that and popping outside Ďfor a breath of fresh airí I ran into the Berlin Club who informed me they were going to have a look at the venue and did we want to come? Separating Rod and Dan from the single malt we ordered another taxi and joined the Berlin Flock. Everything seemed to be in order so we went to the Old Town, to a picturesque part of the Old Town that some maniac had named Loveless. Dan wears a sort of flower thing We spent a good couple of hours boozing, chatting and scoffing Schnitzels and then retired to Route 66 where the serious drinking began, continuing in Rodís room when we got booted out of the bar.

The next morning we decided that Dan should enter the Fu Manchu category so we took the car to the venue for registration and pre-jury and then went shopping to see if we could find a Chinese dressing gown and Chinese looking hat for him. We failed on all counts and the best we could come up with was a sort of flower thing to put on his head. I must admit I was somewhat distracted from the shopping because the elastic in my underwear had broken and I could not take half a dozen steps without having to stop and hitch them up.Foliage, face and face foliage Giving up on the shopping we went to drop the car at the hotel and replace the defective grundies and taxi it to the venue for the competition.

Perhaps it was the heat of the competition, perhaps it was the amount of beer we had drunk the previous day but Dammit! Dammit! in spite of the fact that I had gone to my room specifically to change, it soon became apparent that I had completely forgotten to replace the self-lowering underwear.Elmar Weisser's hirsute creation The competition was pretty good, there were the usual faces there. Both Rodders and I failed (by one place) to achieve our normal positions at the bottom of the scoreboard so it was left to Dan in his floral headgear to make sure we did not completely avoid utter failure. He did not disappoint us.

For many an hour and more the sounds of 'acht comma fünf' resounded through the hall and much beer was consumed. The vast majority of the contestants were German; apart from Dan, Rod and I there were a couple of Irish chaps called Conor and Steve that were writing a book called Eurotash, and a Belgian member of The British Beard Club. I was glad to see he and his wife were both sporting TBBC badges that I made in the Windsor Castle a couple of months ago so he was definitely who he said he was. The trouble is that I canít remember who he was...

(He is Marc Van der Veken - Ed.)

Even though I do speak a little German, I was mostly speaking English there because it was easier. It would therefore be extremely disingenuous to poke fun at someone doing their best to communicate in a foreign language. Be that as it may, Jörg did on one occasion ask "if I had tasted the cheese from his member", which was definitely not what he was trying to say and I could hardly let that go unreported could I? The competition ended and we repaired to the bar for even more beer.

A man with a beard, a hat and some upside-down horseshoesNo caption springs to mind for this man

Next morning we said goodbye to everyone we could find and headed off to the airport and just as we were nearly there Rod discovered that he had left his Blackberry in the hotel. Disaster! There was not time to go back and get it so he spoke to the hotel, the hotel put the Blackberry in a taxi and the taxi delivered it to the airport costing the forgetful fool a three-figure taxi bill.

It was pretty touch and go if it would make it because there was a huge queue at the baggage drop, and we could not get to the gate because the floor above was closed because of an unidentified bag. With minutes to spare we boarded the plane. Rod flew on from there to Spain whereas I headed back home, grabbed an hour's sleep on the sofa and then headed off to a wine-tasting event for 4.00 p.m. for which I had bought a ticket before I realised I was going to Frankfurt. Monday morning I was not a pretty sight.


Text © Andy Lear / The Handlebar Club MMIX
Photography Copyright © 2009 Marc Van der Veken / Dan Sederowsky / Rod Littlewood