Saturday, August 1, 2009

Camping it up

I am currently sitting safely in front of the faithful laptop with a nice hot cup of tea close to hand and tales to tell of a never to be forgotten trip down to Brighton.

My weird weekend away kick-started on Friday, when - WHILST AT WORK!!!! - bloody Roger called me up. I'd been busy trying to forget all about last weekend's announcement up in Lincoln that he had somehow duped Mum into agreeing to marry him. But hearing his voice at the other end of the line brought back to front of mind the grizzly and inconvenient truth of the matter.

His opening gambit didn't help my mood, he said he was angry with me! WITH ME!! The f*cking cheek of the man, he was angry with the way that I'd treated Mum. Me!

Here he was talking to me about my Mum, my Mum who he bearly knows, my Mum who I've stood by through thick and, let's face it, increasingly thin. The very same Mum who I've supported emotionally totally single handedly since Dad left us.

I told him to 'eff-off', I don't usually use that language with the elderly, but he didn't miss a beat, the gold digging scroat. He told me he had to write down my mobile number from Mum's phone and then wait until she went out shopping before making the call, because since she was Christian she was prepared to forgive my childish ways. Then he started going on about Gill and accused me of being emotionally retarded.

I told the old cunt to 'eff right off', and then he accused me of being an aggressive moron whose time of sponging of his own mother was up, he said that since they agreed to marry, they had agreed to get a joint account, and he had spotted a regular direct debit that she was making to Nationwide Building Society. He said he knew for a fact the house in Lincoln was paid off in full (HOW DID HE KNOW THAT?????) and said even though she'd tried to skirt around the subject he'd found out that she had been paying the motgage of my flat and that it had to stop!

Jesus. I'm her only son. And she's betraying me for this wanker she bearly even knows. I couldn't believe what I was hearing. I said I needed to speak with her and he said it was too late, she was going to cancel the payments and that I'd need to pick up the tab and start acting like an grown man.

Well, readers, you know me?! You probably know me better than I know myself. Ordinarily, I'd take this sort of news badly, I'd seek solace at the bottom of a can (or eight) of Cobra. But I thought I'd do something positive instead. Inspired by my blog about the Woodcraft Folk and Richard Dawkins' atheist camp, I thought I'd get myself away from it all. I thought, 'fuck it, fuck Mum and fuck bloody Roger, they can stop the payments and I'll just move out, I've got a tent, I can become a gipsy, travelling the land (well, the land that's within commuting distance of the office anyway) and set up camp wherever the notion grabs me'.

I went straight home, got my camping gear together and headed off to Brighton. Unfortunately, when I arrived at Brighton's one and only camp site at Sheepcote Valley they told me all the pitches were taken. They told me about a site down at Hove. Thankfully the Hove site had some space, but I tell you what, it was bloody crowded. Crowded with tents anyway, but all the occupants must have gone out for the night. I managed to find a spot, it was near the loos, but that's OK I figured, once you're inside the tent it doesn't really matter about the views does it?

Anyway, it was getting dark by the time I managed to set things up, and I was pretty drained, both physically and emotionally, so I did the only thing I could. I got cracking into a few of my fav lagers! I know what you're thinking, you're thinking I'm an alcoholic who resorts to the booze when life's troubles get too much.

Maybe you're right.

Anyway, once I'd polished off the cans I dozed off into a blissful slumber. However, the next thing I know, I'm being woken up by the sound of voices, loud voices too, loud, pissed up voices, shouting too, and music. I was not feeling too great but I was still a bit pissed up, I'd managed to get down to my briefs and was lying half in my sleeping bag, the night air was chilling me to the bone, but I needed the toilet desperately. I figured it was just a short scramble to the loo, so I grabbed a black beach towl and wrapped it over my shoulders, unzipped the door and made a dash for it.

Jesus readers, I thought I'd walked into a nighclub, it was packed with my fellow campers. They were friendly enough, but my attire certainly raised a few eyebrows, some wag called me the caped crusader and started singing the old theme tune from Batman. Well, I'm no spoilsport readers, these chaps might well have woken me up, but I was still feeling the effects of the Cobra I guess, I started fake fighting with some of them, throwing a few judo moves, they were clearly impressed and I was having a great laugh. All thoughts of Roger safley gone. The healing effects of Cobra and fresh air!!

I had a drink or two with a couple of guys and then things started to quieten down. This camping lark wasn't all bad I figured. But then, about half an hour later, it started. Tents are great, they keep out the wind and the rain, but there's one thing you can't really stop with canvas, sound waves! Getting woken up by everyone getting back from the clubs is one thing, but hearing the noises of nature is another. It brought back the terrible memories of hearing Roger and Mum at it. But the noises I was hearing in Hove went beyond human, they were animal noises, angry animal noises, angry, painful sounding animal noises, prolonged bouts of hefting grunting and panting, it started off in just one tent, but soon another started and then another. I was surrounded by inescapable aural rape. I plugged my fingers into my ears but it didn't help, then I heard someone shouting 'where's Batman, I want Batman'. I gripped the zipper of my tent door so hard I can still see the red marks it left in the palm of my hand.

Still the noises continued. It was as though I'd set my tent up at the after-show party of Sodom and Gomorah. The beast with two backs was abound. I have never been so terrified in my life. I just kept hold of the tent fastener. But I think I must have passed out through exhaustion at around dawn, because the next thing I knew I was being woken up to the gentle pitter patter of raindrops on the tent walls and once again by the sound of laughter.

I got myself ready inside the tent, I thought I'd better beat a hasty retreat, so pretty much packed up all my stuff and took down the tent from the inside, I've got one of those dome jobs, where the inner sleeping part hangs from an exo-skeleton - they're very good modern tents.

Anyway, I got my shit together and emerged into the mid-morning grey. Thankfully, a number of my fellow campers had already departed, but a group of lads about 50 yards away were playing frisbee with cans of lager in their hands!

Then, who should I spot among the group? None other than Dan Bantam!!! He was having a merry old time chucking the disc back and forth with his mates. I watched him for a while, it was nice to see him smiling, he's so serious in the office, always putting on a show, but here he was just having a game of frisbee with his pals and he was loving it.

I was so pleased to see a friendly face that I decided I'd nip over and have a laugh about what was surely Britain's most hedonistic campsite. I tell you what, I have never seen a face change so quickly, he just stared at me, then he pretended not to know me and kind of whispered under his breath: "Fuck off Newsdesk, you can take next week off, full pay, don't breathe a fucking word of this to anyone. Go!"

I was mystified readers, mystified. But I did as he said. Now, I'm back in the flat. I don't think I'd really cut out for the life of a vaggabond. There's no broadband for starters, so I'd struggle to keep you guys updated on the blog. I suppose I could do posts from works, but really I guess I'm going t ohave to bite the bullets and start paying the mortgage in full myself.

It's tough readers, it really is. There's only one thing for it I reckon, I'm going to have to nip out get myself a Frey Bentos and a few cans of the finest beer known to man: Cobra,

Much respect


ps. The marketing executives at Cobra have yet to get in touch. But it's surely a matter time. Surely.


  1. Never mind Barry, it can't last between your mum and Roger. Never get in the way of a mum and her only son. You'll always be the loser. It's only a matter of time. Have patience.

  2. Couldn't agree more, still, I can totally understand the way you feel and would probably feel the same in this situation. Like Tennyson said, have a little patience. Take care ! x

  3. Barry, the stress must be playing havoc with your typing. You've accidentally typed 'Batman' instead of 'Bantam' several times in that blog post.