As well as my old unreliable Beetle I also had a few old unreliable scooters.
It was a faze I was going through, and to tell the truth I have not really grown out of it 30 years down the line.
Ive always loved classic vehicles, Rusty Lambrettas, Rusty Vespas, Rusty cars ...I can see a pattern forming here
Back in the eighties the Ska and Scooter boy scene was becoming quite popular, I liked the image of the mod but being a chunky beer monster I could never pull that look off.
Mods were usually 8 stone wringing wet, had perfect hair and could afford to dress in Italian suit's and designer shoes, They rode pristine scooters and had a super model of a girl friend as pillion
Us scooter boys however wore ex army tank suit's, combat gear and Dr martins, Our Lambrettas and Vespas were tuned to the max and usually covered in oil and shit.
Our pillion rides were not super models, they were more often than not a pissed mate whos scooter had just ended up in a ditch or had blown up on the way to another weekend rally.
On this occasion the Beetle was called into action,
My Vespa super 150...fucking super.... had decided to melt another piston and a couple of mates had no rides at the time.
We were booked onto the Isle of white ferry at around 2pm heading for the weekender on guess where...Yep the Isle of white.
Now scooters are not designed to carry tents, sleeping bags, a long weekend worth of togs and beer,
You can get away with a small tent and a sleeping bag rolled up as tight as possible and secured with string, but beer and clothes...No way, It was a case of two pairs of pants and rotate these if you didnt shit yourself and the gear you were wearing when you left home, Oh and a huge can of Old spice or Brut...just in case you grab hold of a young filly whilst crawling around the sawdust covered floor in the beer tent.
I said that as I was taking the tank I could carry quite a lot of the camping gear, to save space on my mates scooters.
I popped the bonnet and crammed as many tents and sleeping bags in the not so big space as possible, The beer was stacked on the rear seat and then sat on by my Two traveling companions, In the co -pilots seat was a mate who had a licence so technically we were legal and ready to roll.
A mixture of six scooters , vespas and lammies fired up out side my parents house at 7 in the morning, The air was filled with that unforgettable smell of castrol R and 2 stroke oil.
The old Tank was bump started and we were off.
Back then the M25 was out of bounds, It was not finished in places and our steeds were not quick enough to keep up with the traffic so the A roads were our preferred choice of route.
After a few hours we pulled into a road side greasy spoon to let our rides cool down and grabbed breakfast,
This was then washed down with a weak mug of tea, we crammed our pockets with spoons, salt, pepper and serviettes before we set off again.
We arrived at the ferry terminal in Lymington with half an hour to spare, The terminal was full of like minded scooter boys and girls all eager to set up camp and get mashed for the next 2 days.
The ferry docked and we boarded , tied the scooters down with the shackles provided and went up stairs for a proper mug of tea.....We were wild
As we were docking in Yarmouth on the Isle of white we were greeted by a long parade of the men in blue. there were hundreds of them and all for us.
We emerged from the smoke filled ferry deck like a swarm of angry wasps straight towards the sea of blue uniforms and were made to follow a pre determined route that the plod had deemed safe for the local peasants.
The camp site was 10 minutes away and as usual in the middle of fucking no mans land...there were a scattering of plastic put me up shit houses and a huge tent with the word BEER hand written in what looked like blood outside.
YES we hand landed, with our rotten old wax cloth tents slung up we moon stomped towards the beer tent like a sketch from a Zombie film and we started the hard work of drinking this place dry.
Night fell and so did most of us, There were the usual fights between different scooter gangs and the odd camp fire cropped up around the field however in one corner there was what can only be described as a bonfire of Guy fawkes proportion .... Bloody hell the plastic shitters were alight.
A huge crowd gathered around and before long the Isle of whites finest were surrounding us quickly followed by a couple of fire trucks with their full crew who managed to get the burning crappas extinguished
Went crawled back to our pits and crashed out only to be woken a few hours later at 5am by the local plod shouting at us to pack up and leave.....For fucks sake, we had another 1000 gallons of grog to neck down and we had to evacuate the site.
We shoved as much of our stuff back into the Beetle and then realised that our tents were still up and we had no room, Funny how when re-packing there is never as much room as when first packed..Bollox, the tents were hanging and the decision was made to leave them there.
The camp site was ushered to the main gate and escorted back to the ferry terminal, surrounded again by the boys in blue for every yard we traveled.
Once on board the ferry we had time to mull over what had just happened and before long we were back in Blighty.
Feeling very hung over and tired we headed north back home up and out of the New forest, Once on the main road I took the lead as I had a better idea of where to go and just as I got the old tank up to 45mph with a long parade of scooters behind me the bonnet decided to un hook itself and flip up spewing the contents of its hold all over the busy road.
There were the girls dirty knickers and bras ( yes there were a few scooter girls with us )and the lads festering y fronts and sleeping bags flying every where, I couldn't see fuck all due to a lump of metal obscuring my view.
We pulled over and ran around like headless chickens collecting our personal belongings from the hedge rows and tarmac, I wedged them back into the front of the tank and sat on the bonnet making sure it was well and truly shut this time and then with another bump start we carried on with our journey back home .
More scooter weekenders came and went however none were as short lived as the Isle of white bash back in the early 80s