the family holiday

Discussion in 'The Lamp and Sandbag II - The Tall Story Strikes B' started by shortfuse, Jul 20, 2005.

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  1. every year as a child without fail the whole family would pack into dads invariably sh1t car, for a week of fun and botulism on the east coast.

    as the day approached, dad would become more and more tense at the thought of having to spend a whole week with us and would, by D Day be a barely controlled bundle of nerves and unspent aggression but seeing as mum packed the cases got the three of us kids ready, got dad ready, made the packed lunches for the trip (it took f*cking hours to get there in dads jallopy) checked the booking in the chalet, withdrawn the money from the post office account .. i'm not sure what his problem was.

    anyway i forget exactly which year it was but dad was driving an old rover 3500 he'd bought off a paddy in the pub it was 2 parts rust one part oil leak and steam and 1 part car, and he'd borrowed a roof rack off a mate ... also in the pub and fitted it himself ... big mistake my dad is not the most practical of chaps.

    so, half way to St. Osyth between braintree and marks tey theres a lurch and this f*cking roof rack starts to head west on its own... dad pulled over with barely concealed and simmering fury and i could see the vein ticking in his forehead.

    he stomped around to the boot and got out his tow rope and proceeded to lash this stupid overladen roof rack to the top of the car.

    my mum (a saint bless her) looked over at him and said
    "er ......John"

    "shut up Kathy i'm busy hen"

    "but .... john"

    "Kathy SHUT UP i'm tying this thing on"

    "but.."

    "SHUT THE F*CK UP WOMAN.... AND KEEP THOSE F*CKING KIDS UNDER CONTROL"
    (i was trying to stick my action man up my brothers nose and my sister had smeared a banana into her hair)

    so mum pulled her famous "cats bum mouth" which if the muscle power to pucker lips that tight could be harnessed could power a small village in cumbria ... folded her arms and faced her front in steely silence

    much huffing puffing and half hitches later the job was completed and the roof rack was secure in fact i doubted anyone could ever unpick the knots my old man had put in this rope.

    at this point he went to rejoin his loving family and continue on his journey to our destination

    the dozy c-unt had tied it through the open windows of both doors and couldn't get in :D

    more fuming, shouting swearing threatening swearing kicking of inanimate objects gnashing of teeth and swearing as only a glaswegian in a fury can and he had to climb in the car like a middle aged Bo Duke

    we sat in silence for the rest of the journey.

    apart from the odd snigger from the back. :D

    Do you remember those early family holidays .... why did they do it????????????????
     
  2. Our family hols were always memorable for one disaster or another…
    The earliest holiday I can recall was a camping trip to the Mohne dam in Germany, it was the early 80s and at the time we were posted to fally.

    My old man was a still just a tom at the time so money was tight but not wanting us to go without he insisted that we were going on holiday. There was my folks, me, my brother and my dads mucker and wife and their two young daughters.
    The only transport we had was a grey Volkswagen Beatle that my old man had brought dirt cheap from another tom who was desperate for beer tokens. To this day im not sure how we all fitted in but we did, I have jaded memories of being wedged between the parcel shelf and back window…

    So off we went looking like a cross between the Clampets and National Lampoons, we’d only just got onto the autobahn when the Beatle started back firing… from my vantage point on the parcel shelf I could see these solid lumps flying from the back of the car! When I pointed them out to my mum she quizzed my dad as to why there was Brillo pads shooting out the exhaust……. he confessed to shoving them down there to muffle the noise!

    After several stops to wait for the rain to stop and the engine to dry out we finally got there. My Dad and his Mucker pitched the 9x9 and divvied up the doss bags hookied from the stores then started on the BBQ made from ½ oil drum.

    I don’t remember much else of the holiday after that except for seeing my Dad and his mucker being carted off from the Mohne dam by the Polizi…. I asked my mum not so long back what that was all about and she said…

    “Your father and his pal were worse for wear and thought it clever to Goose Step across the dam singing the Dam Busters at the top of their voices whilst hailing the locals…..” :lol:
     
  3. RTFQ

    RTFQ RIP

    My family used to go on holiday to cornwall in the same way that the BEF under Haig used to assault the german trenches. Year after year we'd go back, each time we'd come back knackered, sullen and often wounded - but sure enough, the next year, as soon as the mud looked like drying out, off we'd trot again.

    The warning shots came when my dad started repairs on our striped yellow brown and orange beach wind-break. I would only have been about 6 or 7, but even then I realised that if you needed to erect environmental protection to stop you getting exposure or hypothermia while sunbathing, then that place is not meant to be a holiday destination. Anyway, as soon as he started applying black masking tape to the wind-break, me and my sister would start writing off to childline, esther ranzen, steve wright in the afternoon - anyone who might listen - about how mummy and daddy would touch us in our secret places and make us do a special dance, all in the hope that we might get taken away before they took us down to Truro or Michaelstow, and given to a normal family who went to Disney Land instead.

    The thing is, we were against holidays to begin with. We'd spent 12 months worth of rainy days sitting at the window and planning the day when all the lads on the street would get on their raleigh burners and go up the hill to see if Benjy Finnagan had been right about the ww2 machine gun left up there. Plus we had a blood feud with the kids from the next estate ever since one of them threw a stone at Tonya Talor, and I didn't want to go on holiday if there was going to be a rumble. To top it all off, I'd been avidly following D'Artanion and the Muskerhounds, as well as Cities of Gold, so if I went away I'd miss what happened. In short - I didn't want to go anywhere, let alone somewhere that puts rancid cream on its ice cream.

    I'd spent a whole week offering the same prayer to god before I went to sleep:

    "God bless mummy
    God Bless daddy
    God bless (my sister)
    God bless me
    and thank you for all the food today
    and please give me chickenpox so I don't have to go Pontins
    Aaaaamen"

    Sadly, I remained uninfected and the night before we left for Dumpwall (as my sister and I had amusingly dubbed it), to add insult to injury, we were made to go to bed early.
    It stays light 'til 2300, we've spent the last 12 months going to bed bang on at 2000, so what makes my parents think we'll be able to convince our bodies to sleep at 1800? A cup of warm milk, that's what. Fecking warm milk, it just made you fart while you lay there awake listening to the Krypton Factor through the floorboards.

    The reason we had to go to bed so early was because dad wanted to leave early doors to beat 'the rush.' Now, I was too young to know what time exactly we used to leave at, but using my since-gained experience and knowledge, I reckon it must have been about 2 in the morning. I base this assumption on the following evidence:

    It's still very dark - it's the height of summer remember, so it has to be before about 0330-0400. It's so dark that you can see the pixillated mesh of your rods and your cones if you concentrate.
    It's so quiet when we get carried to our car wrapped in our duvets that you have that early morning feeling that everyone in the world has died and become zombies in the night. Your ears buzz with the lack of sound. The air smells funny too
    I remember having that feeling that i now know well when you get woken for the 2-3 graveyard stag, the "I would seriously rather be dead than have to stag on right now" feeling.
    My dad has a sort of penitent look, like he knows this was a stupid idea but it's too late now. Mum looks like she regrets marrying him.

    Then, as soon as we reach the A road outside town, we hit a gridlock of caravans, trailers, caravanettes and estate cars, because every other clever fecker had the same idea to beat the rush, becoming - ironically - that self same rush. Kids are wailing, dads are trying to freebase caffeine and cars are swerving into every available layby because their children's body clocks are so screwed-up that they're puking, sh1tting and asking for a 'nana all at the same time. Armies look in better order when they've been routed. It's like this all the way there.

    Again, I can't be sure because it was years ago, but I'm fairly certain that the road to cornwall was single lane all the way there. It must have taken us months to get there. I was a quiet, bookish lad with NHS glasses held together with plaster - I sh1t you not - and somewhere around Tewkesbury my sister would decide to play her favourite game of 'let's see if I can bug my elder brother until he LITERALLY goes insane.' There I'd be in the back of our early 80s style ford escort, reading my Choose Your Own Adventure book, when the hell-sibling would start annoying me. We had a sort of DMZ down the centre of the back seat arm rest, she'd start with little incursions and rapidly escalate to stealing my glasses or grabbing my book and loosing my page. Like I said, I was a quiet child and extremely tolerant, in a sort of aloof and protective way, of my baby sister. At this point I would lose it however and give her a thorough beating. My mum would somehow manoeuvre from the front passenger seat to be holding us both apart by our ears. I swear, she was like some liquid metal terminator or something. I'd get my book taken off me and within minutes little sister would be asleep and dreaming. "Only another 5 hours to go," Dad would proudly announce. Oh yeah, he thought service stations were rip-offs too, so we never stopped. It was child cruelty, you're not even aloud to transport cattle like that anymore.

    We'd eventually get there, us kids would have finally built up some enthusiasm and excitement - new vistas, new discoveries, the sweet promise of adventure. Then dad would go and have a lie down for a couple of hours and mum would tell us to keep it down while she watched Eastenders in the Caravan/Chalet/B&B whatever. Then it would start raining.

    And not stop for the entire holiday. It got worse as we got older when my parents started enroling us in the Holiday Hitler Youth organisations named "Larry The Lions Laughter Club" or "Haven Youth Group." There'd always be this fat ginger kid who bossed everyone else around and I'd always get in trouble for Karate Kid-style crane-kicking him in the gut, or for calling him a fat wnaker. The climbing/abseiling serials would be good because even as a young lad I could recognise the freeloading, hungover and dangerously unqualified aussie in charge of the activity for what he was.

    Oh yeah, and the cabaret. Butlins/Haven/Pontins et al in the 1980's used to have cabaret in the evening. I honestly think the memories might kill me, these bad boys were repressed when i started writing this. They were unmitigated, inexcusable sh1te. It was, and probably still is, a damning indictment of the British People that we are willing to pay money to watch utterly abysmal entertainment. I remember Bernie Clifton, that f.ucker had better pray that he is dead by now, because the army has since trained me to kill and I owe you for a night spent listening to your inane mother-in-law jokes and your franklly suicide inducing rendition of "Wind beneath my Wings" - oh the horror, my parents bought his tape after the performance and we spent the drive back listening to him over, and over, and over again. This is cathartic stuff, I'd repressed that deep. Bernie Clifton, start running because I will find you and gut you like a fish for what you did to me that night.

    And then there'd be nights when we had to go to "Barnie's Funzone Club" because the adults were being offered a "Blue" Comedy night with someone like Bob Caralgies or Jim Bowen. You're lucky I wasn't allowed to go, else you'd be on my list too you talentless fcuks.

    Finally, oh sweet jesus and the orphans, the Kiddies talent nights. Followed by kiddies disco.
    I'm not saying that standing in front of a thousand pissed council estate adults (and the kids I'd have to socialise with later) in a bingo hall outside of Polperro singing "I am the Misic Man" with the attendant actions scarred me to any extent, but if I still had access to PE 4 I'd track them down and make them pay for laughing at me. Oh Yes.
    The disco was no better, especially the excruciating ringside comments from my parents everytime I uttered a word to a girl. Summoning the guts to ask a girl to dance, when you're 8 years old and your parents are grinning and gesticulating like a couple of whipsnade chimpanzees, is no easy job - especially when the cnut behing the decks with the 'wacky' glasses makes you all dance the birdie song instead of 'Time after Time' by Cyndi Lauper like he promised.

    Fu.cking Cornwall.
     
  4. I'm taking the family off on holiday this year-first time ever.
    A 9 yr old, 15 yr old (man whore wannabe alcoholic) and missus (preggers).

    As it's our first trip together I promised them a foreign holiday. We're spending a week in Wales.


    Yes, I am a cnut.
     
  5. once we had arrived at our destination, our holiday fun REALLY began.

    we would invariably be sharing a 2 bedroom chalet with either my uncle Jim and his 3 kids or my nan and grandad so sleeping room was at a premium to say the least.

    i learnt the basis of fire and manouvre from my dad using my Brother as a base of fire from "the snake infested swamp" (according to my grandad Frank it was snake infested, but then he was a pathological liar and told us the road to clacton was mined so we couldn't go to the amusement park there) i would assault a disused pill box opposite our chalet from dawn till dusk posting grenades through on unsuspecting Jerries and managing to make it down for tea despite my horrific wounds and several heroic deaths.

    the evenings entertainment consisted of the camp club which was to use a building term "f*cked"

    the kids entertainer i found out years later was a p1ss head with a pathalogical hatred of kids, my dad was in tears telling me about him, he used to scream into the bar during the interval of his act and neck 3 large brandies in succession to fortify him for the second half of the act which would consist of feral kids from east london injuring him in a variety of ways, the most amusing of which was during a game involving rolling large solid wooden dice in a bin they would, without fail dump these things straight on the top of his foot every time.

    the circus came to the park one year, and after the show i went to bed dreaming of the sights and sounds i'd seen ... when i got up for a lash in the night imagine my surprise to find two drunken clowns and the ringmaster all singing Tony Bennet songs with my old man ... i thought he was negotiating a price for them to take me away and have had a fear and mistrust of "carnies" ever since.

    the "play park" had no bark chippings, just concrete, glass and white dog sh1t, and the slide was made of polished steel with no edge protectors, but the crowning glory was a long swing that resembled a medieval battering ram and would be set going by "bigger boys" who would let this thing come at them and grab it at the last minute, go up in the air with it and hit the ground running to push it back ... proper deadly......

    despite all this, they were amongst my happiest childhood memories and mum and dad had to kid us we were going out for the day .... then we'd pull in to our street and the tears would REALLY start :D
     
  6. Up the mountains in Austria - down the mountains in Austria - up the mountains in Austria - down the mountains in Austria - up...

    You get the drift. Every bleedin' summer holiday.

    I hate mountains and hiking. Scarred me for life. That's why I moved to an island and live at the coast. :lol:
     
  7. RTFQ ,Fecking brill , iwas that fat ginger kid . Polperro, Perranporth, Been there done exactly the same as you . Did you ever have some football pro that you had never heard of teaching footy to a load of kids whilst your mum and dad went to the local pottery shop ? Top story that we have all been through .
     
  8. Our holidays followed a grimly similar pattern every year.

    For some reason, my dad developed an affinity for North Wales and we went there year in year out. From the age of 4 till 14 we’d pitch up in Rhyl or Prestatyn right at the start of the Summer holidays. The caravan sites were uniformly horrific. In Robin Hood camp, we had to get our water from a fcuking standpipe, and the caravan was lit by those little gaslamps that could burn the place down inside 60 seconds.
    Why the fcuk did they do it? It was the complete opposite of the dictionary definition of holiday. Nobody chilled out in that week. Nobody unwound. Nobody took time from their troubled lives to enjoy a bit of well earned freetime. My dad’s thought processes must have worked like this.

    ‘Right, I have five children and live in a largish, three bedroomed house with a big front garden. With the space I am allocated, I can barely maintain my sanity, because my kids are always at each others throats. My wife spends most of her time breaking up fights. Ah hahhhh! I have the perfect solution. I will move my family from this environment and into a space no bigger than a Muslim’s prayer mat. I’m sure that harmony will ensue.’

    It was always bedlam from day one. Scrapping about who would open the door. Scrapping about who got what bed. Scrapping about who lit the lamps. Scrapping about what the next thing would be to scrap about. They must have been bonkers. Four lads ranging in age from 7 to 17 with wildly differing interests only united through a love of sibling punch-ups.

    We’d always save our pocket money for months before the holiday, and blow the fcuking lot on space invaders on the first day. Once skint, we had to dance to dad’s tune. His mantra was “You can have as much fun as you want, as long as doesn’t cost me a penny.” He’d take us to the beach and make us play cricket from 8 in the morning till teatime. He’d be batting, John would bowl and me, Joe and Paul would field. He always made sure that the wicket was set up right in the middle of the beach and then he would wallop it all over the show. He’d score ridiculous amounts of runs while my little legs chased after a tennis ball that he’d smacked 500 yards up the coast. In true Brian Glover style, you could never bowl the bas-tard out. There was always some rule infringement that meant he stayed in. We’d traipse back at the end of the day, sunburnt from head to toe, while dad big-timed it, swinging the bat around.

    The mental scarring of having to listen to my eldest brother thrapping remains with me to this day.

    Living in a caravan, also allowed me the dubious privilege of seeing my mum in the bollocky bufters as well. I don’t know who was more horrified. I came back in early from the cricket, and she was getting changed for the evening. In that brief millisecond before she covered up, I saw everything. Udders, clout, the lot. It being the seventies, bush trimming was decades away and it looked like she was trying to hide Leo Sayers. If it’s never happened to you, consider yourself lucky. I’ve seen my mum’s fanny, and I’m not proud of the fact.
     
  9. C_C, that story was priceless! Nearly snorted coffee across the keyboard.

    Did you have to have therapy for your mum-bush's PTSD? :wink:
     
  10. I reckon the entire membership of Arrse must have been at these caravan sites at the same time all those years ago.

    I thought we'd hit the big time when my old man announced we were going to South Wales instead of the usual North....

    My (so I thought) millionaire aunt had bought a six berth static caravan in Porthcawl, and like it or not we were going to eat into two weeks of our summer holidays by heading to the Welsh coast. We took my granny as it was cheaper than putting her in a kennel and I'm sure my parents thought she could babysit so they could get some quality time together.... Me and my sister ensured that never happened by getting mumps and hair lice.

    There was a great big swing next to a sandpit and I started playing 'How far can you hurl yourself' from said swing at its full forward height.... fcuk me I nearly touched the stratosphere...

    My fun was rapidly spoilt as the big boys on the camp saw what I was doing and had me jumping into dog sh1t hidden just under the sand.

    This was the first place I saw and bought a 'frankie says' tshirt.... I spunked all my holiday spends on 'Frankie says no to unemployment' in big black letters across a vest.... Some welsh cnut robbed it of the line two days later. My old man thought it was puffy so wouldn't replace it.

    Later the same holiday I asked my Dad if I could have my ear pierced, his responce. 'Of course you can son............................ but you'll wear a frock for school' not a 'no' but I knew he meant it.

    My only other memory of this period was having a fist sized bruise in the middle of my back for months..... I had choked on a lump of jumbo sausage in a chippy in Port Talbot.... As I got closer to death and the blueness had turned into grey my old man decided the heimlich maneouvre was unnafective so walloped me in the back...... the sausage flew out at Mach 3 hitting my granny in the tits and my spine turned to jelly. Once my throat was unblocked I began to cry like a baby, only to be told not to be so wet or I'd get something to cry about....

    I never saw my mums bush on this trip but I did see my old mans knob... He didn't try to assault me with it or anything i just got a glance as he tried to climb out of his speedo's one evening.
     
  11. My parents felt that the best way to educate me n my sister during holidays was to drag us all over the UK and show us the sights of this fine nation. In some ways it worked in that we are both law abiding, productive, tax paying members of society (although sis did grow up to be a banker).
    The major flaw in fathers plan was getting from central scotland to the part of the UK targeted for this years assault. Car was the prefered method. Now car journeys can be fun but when there is a sullen silence (due to family squabbles), perpetual fighting between me n sis, father being a stressed wreck, mother one bumpy road section away from heaving ... its all a little tense.
    In fact you only have music to break the poisonous atmos and this is the root of my issues. My father refused to let anyone else play tapes (talking 1970-80's here) of music they liked. He was driving so his music was the only one played.

    'When you are old enough to drive, then we'll listen to your music' was the battlecry.

    To this day wheneven I hear Glen Campbell's Wichita Lineman, Galveston, Rhinestone Cowboy etc My hands start to shake and uncontrolled sobbing can break out.
     
  12. Whilst you have my sympathy for your various traumatic holiday expereiences I am so glad I'm not the only one. I have one older and one younger brother and dad had a vw beetle........................I shake whenever I hear that engine noise. We lived in Essex and every summer would limp up to Yorkshire - the three of us squashed in the back fighting like mad. I felt sick because dad smoked a pipe. We would visit grandma then have a week in rented flat in Bridlington. We were also treated to a week campnig...........usually in Suffokk. I keep trying to convince myself I will enjoy a walk in the country - plenty of other people do. I even brought some of the gear - just can't quite manage to get those hiking boots on. The worst was in Derbyshire - some disused railway line we were forced to walk down.
    One year we had a change and went to Bognor Regis - complete s****hole! I died of embarassment returning to school in September when all the otheres had been to Spain or Cornwall and I had to say where had been. I never quite got over that. Mind you someone I work with went to All Hallows next the sea this year because she thought there would be plenty for her young son to do - so it is the present generation suffering as well!
     
  13. My father, being the typical male that he can be on occasion, would never ask for directions. Never, ever. Sadly, he has a sense of direction that is very untypically male and much like mine: none, zero, zilch, nada.

    We spent many an amusing hour back-to-fro-side-round tracking in foreign cities, towns, villages, on motorways, A- and B-roads, all over Austria, Germany, Italy, France and Switzerland.

    To this day I am the 'Queen of the 3-point turn' due to lack of own sense of direction and growning up with "Demmit, but I thought Salzburg was in the opposite direction", or "No way, mother, I won't ask this nice gentleman over there, just keep the girls quiet, I am sure I'll find my way to the city centre parking."

    He never did. Gotta love the old man. :D

    (edited, because obviously I can't type for toffee 8O )
     
  14. RTFQ

    RTFQ RIP

    Things looked up for our holiday prospects when the old man got posted to Germany. Me and the sister came back from school to find the sofa upturned and the hoover sticking out of the telly – sure signs that the olds had been having a discussion about something or other. My sister went outside to play. Well I say that, this was in a top floor flat in Dedoderside (or whatever the patch was called in Osnatraz), so ‘going outside’ meant kneeling on the concrete balcony to play, obeying the oft screamed demands to “stay away from the sides!” from my mother. As she busied herself in what looked the exercise yard from a My Little Pony maximum security prison, my old man walked in with blood pouring from a nasty wound above his left eye. He sat beside me and enquired as to whether I had, by chance, learnt how to be a cut man in PE yet. Disappointed by my reply, he went on to explain that mummy hadn’t liked the idea of driving back from Osnabruck to Cornwall for holidays this year, and daddy had to find us somewhere else to go. Inside, I was moonwalking across neon paving stones.

    Unfortunately, mum had never been further than Cricklewood before she met dad, so was easily impressed the following day when he declared that “Blue” Thomas took his missus to Sauerland last year and we should go there. Initially, my sister and I thought anything ending in –land had to be cool; look at Disneyland, or Legoland, or Sundown Adventureland. Well, Okay, the last one was pretty wa.nky, but still…

    Our optimism waned somewhat when we came to in our trusty Volvo 340 at 0400, encased in the contents of our flat and with a dozen angry BMWs glued to our rear bumper because dad was doing 60 in the overtaking lane of an Autobahn, complaining all the while about “impatient blo0dy Germans.” Sure enough, we were not met by 6 foot cartoon characters bearing sweets and tickets to rides named “The Oblitatron” and “SuperLooper,” but by a little old German lady who handed a set of keys to my old man before giving us a guided tour of a nice little cottage in uninterrupted Deutsch. She left a bemused family FQ standing in the middle of what sounded like a “Voneyzimmer.” My mum turned to my dad and asked if he got any of that. Even I recognised that the only word of German my dad knew was “Schwartzwaldekirschtorte,” but it didn’t stop him confidently stating “Pretty much” before striding back to the car to get the bags.

    We quickly ascertained that we were in the middle of nowhere and the TV only spoke German. It was still pretty cool though; dad had a shortwave radio and managed to find a station playing old hits from the music halls. Me and him shared a touching moment as he taught me the words, and we sang along to "Shine Your Buttons With Brasso"by Arthur Askey (which I’m frankly amazed is on google).

    We woke the next day to the sweet sounds and smells of a herd of cows being driven past our cottage on the way for milking or whatever they do at six in the morning. Me and my sister stood, tip-toed on the veranda, and asked our bleary eyed parents why one cow was trying to climb on the back of the other. My mum replied “he wants a piggy back” at the exact moment my dad said “they’re humping.” My 6 year old sister inevitably asked “what’s humping mummy?” and I earned a fat ear as I started describing the vital roles played by Willies, FooFoos and Bums in the whole affair (as described to me by Andrew Ellis) with the attendant finger actions.

    We didn’t stick around for breakfast due to the pungent carpet of cowshite newly lain outside. We got in the car with a due sense of foreboding, and off we toddled in Sweden’s finest. We arrived at a dam, which bought simultaneous “awwww dads” from me and the sis, until I realised what I was looking at. Like Cait, I too had been taken to the Mohne Dam, scene of 617 Sqn’s finest hour. Instantaneously (I was, and remain, a child charged with imagination) I was taken back to that fateful night. Arms outstretched, I raced along the rebuilt dam, calling bomb aimer’s corrections to the pilot and ordering my Tail End Charlie to “keep the Bosche busy, damnit man.” I ducked as Guy Gibson’s Lancaster roared overhead, the steely eyed hero unflinching at the controls, no doubt thinking about his politically-incorrect dog licking its own testicles in front of the fire back in the mess. I strafed a rather startled looking German family before hightailing it back to my parents shouting “Messerschmitts at 6 o’clock” because an officious looking curator from the museum was chasing me down. Oh what a day. I remember pulling out of the car park and being captivated by a scruffily pretty young blonde girl who was surreptitiously scratching her arrse and sniffing her fingers while her dad went goose-stepping towards the now furious curator with a can of warsteiner in his hand. As we drove away, she smiled and gave me the bird.

    The next day we went to a lake. Lakes in England are where you put unwanted shopping trolleys or unserviceable vehicles - you certainly don’t swim in them because thermal shock will surely kill you - but in Germany they are major attractions. Me and sis leapt onto a pedalo and left a wake of churned water as we weaved our way through the orderly pack of circling fellow pedalo-ists, ignoring cries of “Hey English chilzren! You go ze vrong vay! Zis is not allowed!”

    After lunch, my dad urges me to go exploring. This is unusual for him, and it brings protests from mum. He assures her that I won’t go far and he’s right. Five hours later he taps me on the shoulder as I stand, not 20 metres from where they were sitting, frozen wide-eyed in position and staring at the supine naked German woman laying 5 metres before me. When I think back, it’s like I am seeing her in time-lapse photography mode: the sun changes position and the clouds fly past over her, casting exotic, yet fleeting shadows across her bronze skin.

    “That’s enough education for you son” and he starts walking back. I wipe the drool from my cheek and follow, feeling tingly.
     
  15. Foo-ookin' luxury! at least you lot got to stay on proper caravan sites, with people, shops, running water and pubs.

    My parents hired a caravan that was parked in a corner of a farm, near to a towering heap of silage and cowsh*t.

    It wasn't even a picturesque farm. It was an industrialised dairy farm in one of the scabbier corners of Cornwall, full of sinister looking disused machinery and rusting corrugated steel barns. To be fair, it did have a somewhat euphemistically named "petting zoo", which consisted of some haunted looking rabbits and an evil, wall-eyed Shetland Pony, who would sprout a monstrous stiffy and try to mount you if you approached him. They had a goat as well, who butted me in the gut.

    This place wasn't even near the coast. It was in the depths of china clay country, near Bugle. The whole area was really depressing: my brother and I weren't allowed to go off on walks, because of the clay mining and the risk from old disused mine workings, and the nearest shop was about 4 miles away.

    The nearest local entertainment was the village pub, and my parents used to shoot off down there every evening , leaving us (aged six and eight) to our own devices.
    Our own devices included covering the walls and ceiling of the caravan with little plasticine willies one night. You made your own entertainment back in the Seventies...:D