Dave with the Giraffes at Longleat
Dave enjoys a little quality time, at Longleat, with an old giraffe pal from way back.
The History
Binning, though not to be named as such for a few years yet, started in the late 1980's, when Wayne and Dave would set off down to Avebury for an evening or a weekend, having a drink in the Red Lion and then heading off down to West Kennet Long barrow after closing time.
These early trips took place in any car or mini bus we could cadge or ‘Borrow’ from Watford Football Club, where we worked at the time (only caught out once!). But after a year or so, our party of two started growing, as friends started expressing an interest in our peculiar pleasures.

With trips becoming more regular, and habits starting to form, the whole experience soon became almost ritualistic in its execution. Things such as: stopping off at the Budgens in Wendover to stock up on supplies; going into the Wendover chemist to see if the bloke with the dodgy syrup was working that day (that rug is legendary, and like all good legends has never been verified - I still remain the only person to have seen it); having a quick blow on the blowing stone; avoiding the Norman Knight at Wallingford (much easier now that it has been demolished!); and going to the Blue Boar at Aldbourne. There’s more, but not enough space.
With the onset of reasonably sized pay packets (having moved on to non-Football Club related jobs), the hire of cars and vans became the norm. This was better for us because it meant that we could drive along stretches of the Ridgeway and not worry too much about the vehicle. The first and biggest group trip took place in 1990, when a party of ten made the trip. Some members of the party would have rather stayed at home on reflection, but, on the whole, the trip went down well. However, it was still a good argument for not having girls along (male bonding has always been the major ‘thing’ about Binning).
The Table below shows a number of key Binner mile-stones
Wayne visits Avebury on a school trip
Wayne encourages a trip out west that includes a fateful return to Avebury
Wayne and Dave return to Avebury, visiting West Kennet and spending the night in the WFC mini-bus
A return to Avebury, this time to sleep, for the first time, in West Kennet Long Barrow
First, and most successful attempt at the Ridgeway
Going international (for Binners) we tackle the West Highland Way, and win!
c1998 +
Everyone gets married and Binning slows down a bit
The Name
At this point, the name ‘Binner’ had still not been coined: but somewhere that name had been appointed to us, and we were now in headlong collision with it. The next Minibus mounted group trip took place with a reduced crew of six, and it took place in the wet and cold of October’s arse end. The state of the weather persuaded most of us to dig out some very old and, in many cases, best forgotten hats, which we had hoped would assist in the body warming process. Not to say that they didn’t play their part in maintaining a level of comfort on the trip, but they also produced an irresistible image of us as a bunch of escaped street loonies (and this was at the peak of care in the community). This vision of ourselves is one we came to recognise and nurture.
In our own minds, addled by tiredness and alcohol, we imagined people crossing the road to avoid us, or putting all their shopping on the bus seat next to them so we couldn't sit there. With this in mind, the minibus was christened the "Binner Bus"; named for those sterling vehicles that transport everyday asylum based lunatics (lunatics = loonies from the loony bin = binners) to various community establishments. They could then dribble on the floor in a public place, whilst their wards were cleaned.
Before too long we imagined small children running to their houses for safety, spurred on by the arrival of our mini-bus, shouting warnings to their mothers that "the Binner bus is coming". The name stuck and thus the Binners became whole.
Wayne on an early trip, acknowledging the ancient mystical history of West Kennet Long Barrow. Is this how the druids would have observed rites in the barrow? Probably not.
After Wayne and Dave's early trips, Neil and James showed enough interest to illicit an invite to ride. This they took up with enthusiasm, and since have been, seen and done just about everything in the Binner repertoir.
Street Cred
Binning can have a major affect on your social life. Long term Binner Leppo, for example, has suffered much trauma in the ‘Real World’ since his first trip. It is for this reason that Leppo has requested that his real name, James Arber, remain undisclosed, and that no undisguised likeness of himself be reproduced. I am sure Freud would have had a few interesting things to say regarding his decision. Anyway, here is an incognito picture of Leppo (created with state of the art CGI graphics) enjoying a late night stroll along the West Kennet road, which runs along the course of the southern avenue of stones.
At the other end of the spectrum however, there is Mick: a man who revels in his very Binner essence. Mick is definitely one of the beautiful people; though lacking fairness in his own countenance, Mick consorts with good looking posh birds and earns stacks of cash (though he is currently on a hiatus from work, travelling round the world). Yet he is still willing to debase himself by partaking in the Bin. Mick can easily switch from big bucks businessman power breakfasts with major movers to woolly hatted care free oblivion with the rest of us low powered Binner folk.
The transformation is as stunning as it is complete; he can be equally as elegant in a pinstriped city three piece as in his baggy legged ‘pooh catcher’ jog bottoms and water-proof anorak. Mick’s mental attitude takes on a total change of tack, depending on whether it’s business or Bin. When on the Binner trail, Mick becomes lighter and fluffier, and has even been known to sing the odd song about horse riding on Hergest Ridge (a very odd song I may add) as well as the occasional Irish rebel song.
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