Not your weekly comic crammed with jolly characters like mini the minx and Dennis the menace.
This was a twice yearly special organised by my self to get all the lads together for an all day beer session, sometimes at the coast or sometimes at the coast... you get the Idea, we always ended up at the beach, be it winter or summer the sea was a magnet to us like a Kebab shop to a piss head.
The idea was to get someone who had a full car licence to drive the minibus and wouldn't mind drinking coke or orange juice all day.
Their day out would be funded by everyone else, their grub included , The only down side to this would be hanging around with us lot, a group of very drunk idiots.
I rung around a few mini bus companies trying to get the best deal for a 25 year old driver, Bloody hell ... some of the prices were mental, I even asked if a driver was included on a few deals as they were so expensive.
Eventually i found a small car hire company in Chatham that was willing to rent me have a Ford transit minibus for £90 cash,
Result there i thought and called around a few mates to let them know that the summer Beano was now on.
A tenner was taken from each person in our travelling beer cruise, 12 all together and this was for the van hire and our poor drivers grub etc.
First Saturday in June was circled on the calendar and the countdown commenced.
It wasn't too far off however waiting for it seemed to take years, The day arrived and I went to collect our Mini bus. I rocked up at the steel fenced yard, which I can only describe as a scrap yard for commercial vehicles,
Fucking hell this cant be right.
There i was, standing there in my best blues brother suite, ironed black stay press trousers, crisp white shirt, black tie and new black jacket when I was approached by a tramp who chucked an old Ford key fob at me.
He grunted and pointed in the direction of a tatty old white Transit van with a bright red sliding door and miss matched seats.
Now £90 seemed like a lot of money for this old shitter and he still wanted a deposit of £50 just in case we damaged it.......For fucks sake that was never mentioned and what damage could we possibly inflict on this old dog. I parted with the contents of my wallet and I jumped in the van, slammed the door and drove off feeling proper mugged.
The first stop was my mate Ian's house, He was the designated driver today and a jolly good sport.
I parked the battered van outside Ian's and rung the bell, hid behind the hedge and waited for his expression when he clapped eyes on our tour bus.
Priceless, just Priceless, He stared at the van in horror and before he could turn around and go back to bed I jumped out from behind the hedge and with a " TAA DAA " handed him the sticky key to our ride.
With me as shot gun we set off to collect the rest of the gang, This was what we had been waiting for, Our summer pub crawl through Kent and East Sussex ... The final destination Hastings......
With designated collection points from Chatham to Maidstone we drove around and collected our group of merry men,
The battered old Transit minibus looked like a fucking sunshine variety wagon,
There was a collection of flat faces pushed against the steamed up windows all trying to see where we were going and from the outside you could hear the screams of laughter as our tribe of very special people took the piss out of each other.
The last seat on the bus was reserved for little Neil, He was the youngest and a work mate at Securicor, Now Neil was new to this, He knew a couple of our tribe however did not know old H so as a joke we convinced H (took a couple of cans of cider) to pretend that he batted for the other side.
We pulled over In Maidstone on route to the first pub that was open at 10am in the morning and picked Neil up.
All nervous and wanting to make an impression as all teenagers do he sat down next to H and started to joke around, This is when he felt a hand slowly creep up his thigh towards his nuts.
H whispered in his ear that he was partial to a young stallion and how lucky he was to have had Neil next to him for the entire journey.
"FUCK OFF IM NOT GAY" Neil shouted as he lept out of his seat looking like a startled rabbit in a cars headlights.
To this the whole van ,( now a few cans of grog inside them ) erupted into tears of laughter and thats when the penny dropped. This was to set the president for the rest of the day.
It had just turned half ten and as we rounded a corner on the A229 near cranbrook.......This has always been our preferred route to the coast as it has quite a few public houses, long straight roads for speed testing our mopeds and basically we never had sat navs back then and got lost any other way we went.....we found our fist boozer, this has gone now and like many other pubs a bloody housing development has been plonked down in its place.
The crowd in the Minibus started chanting PUB PUB PUB so as co-pilot I asked the driver Ian to pull over, we piled out the happy bus through the bright and now very wobbly red sliding door and started to bang on the pubs door asking if we can have an early beer.
The door opened and we were greeted by a gutty looking gent who asked us if were we a stag party, I replied no and we were off on a jolly boy outing to the coast and his fine establishment was out first port of call.
" cut the ball shit and come in before anyone sees you " he replied and once inside he cheered up as we started to empty our pockets of any loose change we had,
Within the half an hour that we were there we had managed to empty the rest of his vodka and down a few beers each, The idea of pacing ourselves had gone out the window and the landlord was quite a few quid up on his takings that day.
Back to the bus and full of joy we headed off again .. travelling down the A229 Hastings bound and now the dreaded singing had started.
Every football chant and any song that we could manipulate with as many swear words as possible was shouted at 100 decibels until the urge to empty our sacks made the gang scream " PISS STOP "
Ian slammed on the brakes and the sunshine wagon slowly pulled up to a halt in a road side lay-by.
The sliding door was slung open to allow the exit of a dozen full bladders but on this occasion it didn't stop, the door carried on opening and with an almighty crunch hit the deck.
For fucks sake, thats my deposit gone ... everyone was now literally pissing themselves except me, I was shitting myself, I know this was an old dog but the pikies I had hired it from that morning thought this was a peach and came in three sizes, huge, big and monster....Bollox.
We relieved ourselves and proceeded to attempt to fit the door back into the hole it had fallen out of, No bloody chance, We opened the rear doors and slid the door inside the van,
It stayed there like a dividing wall until we reached our destination ...Hastings sea front car park ... with half a dozen of us kicking and shoving the door we managed to squeeze it back into the opening it had fallen out of and lock it shut...Job done.
First stop the sausage pub, This was located up the end of the old town and did a selection of massive sausages with mash and gravy, perfect with a real ale.
We headed off dreaming of sausages ( not that kind...but bet little Neil still had thoughts in his head ) and spent the next hour filling our growing bellies with grub to help up soak the copious amounts of falling over fluid.
By now we had been drinking for a good five hours and necked around a gallon of beer each, Our brains were not functioning as nature intended and self preservation had long gone.
Hastings has a very old boating lake on the sea front next to the amusements and like flies to shit we wobbled our way towards it,
" can we have six boats with captains " I asked only to be told that as it was a busy day we could only have a 15 minute session.
No issues there, the lakes deep and big so once we are out there we aint coming back.
Like pirates we took to the seas aboard our mutant pedal powered swans, Fucking hell this was hard work when pissed.
H was captain of his swan based yacht with my brother Dan pedaling like a loon possessed, quiet bobbing around had turned into bumper boats and the geezer in the rental hut kept on shouting at us to behave,
Dan called out to us that he had lost his wedding ring in the pond and we all converged to the point where he said he had lost it,
H stood up and bent over the edge to peep into the murky depths below, How the hell he thought he could see under water i will never know but never the less he was there straining his eyes in the hope of spotting the band of gold.
All of a sudden Dan gave Captain H a shove and with a fountain of dirty water covering us all H disappeared over the side.
should we laugh or panic, can Captain Pugwash swim or will he drown....What a dilemma to be in....We chose to laugh.
H was submersed head first in the dirty boating pool, his black trilby hat was bobbing next to the mutant swan,
Dan looked over to us and held up his wedding ring, It hadn't gone missing after all .. however H had vanished into the abyss.
The boating lake was dark, cold and as deep as a BATH !
we never knew this as it was so filthy and full of weeds you couldn't see the bottom,
Old Pugwash suddenly appeared as quickly as he had vanished and jumped up out of the water like Neptune and with a gob full of pond life started to laugh, This bloke was a legend and as soon we knew that he was well enough to carry on drinking we dragged him back into the swan and carried on with our bumper boating, trying to capsize each other and escape from the VERY angry attendant who was now in waders storming across the pond to catch us.
A few of us made it to safety on the opposite side of the lake, Like the Normandy landing we jumped out of our flotilla of swans and over the small fence into the adventure playground where we lay low for a while.
Eight giggling loons in black suits and trilbies trying to be inconspicuous was a difficult thing to do in a kids play area so we headed off for the next pub.
Sadly a few of our fellow pirates were caught and dragged back to shore by the irate attendant and given a right old bollocking..... They just laughed it off and met us further down the road in the Jolly Fisherman for a few more jars of head ache liquid .
By now the summer sun was beating down on us, The cool lagers and ciders were quenching our thirst when all of a sudden Big John had the full force from a super soaker double barrel smack him straight in the face,
"Fucking good shot" a voice cried out from behind the bar, I turned around to find Dan armed with the biggest water cannon i had ever seen....This was war
We emptied the pub in seconds and shot around the corner to your typical beach shop, air beds .. balls .. rock and water pistols.
We must have looked like a budget Mafia, armed with our newly brought arsenal we marched back to the Jolly Fisherman and commenced the battle.
Woosh Woosh we were blasted in the mooey by Dan standing just inside the doorway....Bloody hell that was un-called for, we had empty guns and he was off to the bogs for a re-fill.
"FIGHT" came the war cry....we knew the toilets would hold our ammunition so they were taken under siege, Half the group took over the Ladies and the other half took control of the Gents.
I followed Dan into the boys crappa and asked how he had managed to re load his gun so quickly especially as it took about a liter of fluid,
"easy" he said then pointed to the shitters toilet bowl, For Christ sake that wasn't in the rule book.
Good job he had flushed it first or there might have been little brown projectiles as well.
This battle lasted for a good half hour, the bar staff were joining in with their Soda guns...bit wrong really as they had an endless supply of water....and the boozer was more like a wet room than a pub at the end.
People came and went, the pool table was soaked and the staff wringing wet however we had spent a small fortune in there so every one was happy.
The sun was now cooling down and our 8 hours of parking was nearly up so we thought it would be a good Idea to head back and find a few more drinking establishments on route.
Ian said he would take a stroll back and collect the jolly bus so we could have another beer before we leave this wonderful seaside town.
The time ticked by and no show from Ian,
Hope he hasn't been arrested because its a fucking long stomp home from here.
We headed up the prom towards the car park and found our sunshine bus wedged under the barrier to the car park with a long queue of pissed off drivers behind him waiting to leave.
Now science is not a strong subject of mine but the average weight of our tribe was around 13 stone a person .. multiply this by 12 and you get 156 stone, place this inside a container (the jolly bus) and you will lower the suspension by a good 3 inches,
It was full of us when we went in and now it contains none of us.....hence why the bus was stuck, Ian had given it a good go though,
Thought the hand brake was on and managed to flatten 3 foot of the roof before he realised that it was the barrier stopping him. What a doughnut
With thoughts of my intestines being thrown to the pikies dog for firstly destroying their van door and now the roof I was in two minds to leave the Transit in Hastings and take the long walk home saying it was nicked, Too late ... The Mafia had piled in the back doors and were now chanting PUB PUB PUB as loud as they could.
The van had sunk down onto the bump stops and was well clear of the barrier by now.So with a sorry wave to the cars behind us we crawled off and out of Hastings heading north to our final destination Home.
On route we thought it best for a night cap before we crashed out and pulled into a small village drinking house, It was dark and full of locals who did not appreciate us rocking up and asking for eleven pints of your finest ale, twelve packets of pork scratchings, half a dozen virgins and an orange juice for the driver.
We thought it was bloody hilarious but the miserable old bastard behind the bar thought otherwise and demanded we leave at once.
" Didn't like your pub any way " we shouted back as we staggered out of the pub and back to the van.
As normal we did a head count, eleven, one missing.....re-count....Yep eleven, whos missing,
Little Neil called out and said that H had gone to collect a push bike,
At that precise moment H slung a push bike on top of the special people bus and shouted go, he jumped in the van and we sped off down the road with the bike wedged under the roof bars.
A few hundred yards further on we managed to secure the bike with some old string that was under one of the seats and carried on our merry way.
The van was dead quiet as night fell, the only person awake apart from me was Ian....good job too as he was driving, we stopped at each of our tribes homes and escorted every one of them to their front door except H,
He wanted his new bike off the roof about half a mile from home so he could ride it there, No problem,
We untied the 5 speed racer and watched as a very drunk H wobbled his way into the distance and out of sight, none of us had the heart to tell him he was going the wrong way but he didn't care, he had a new bike.
There was only me and Ian left now in the van, I was dreading returning this to the pikies, damaged door, dented roof and what the fuck, The interior roof lining had become an empty bottle storage compartment, It was hanging down and soggy, we extracted a bin bag of empty bottles and tried to tuck the lining back up into place , It did look better but not perfect.
Oh well here goes, as we approached the hire yard we could hear the dog barking and the office lights were on, shall i just torch it now and run off or offer to pay for the damage and take a beating.
We parked the not so jolly bus outside the office and went in....This was it....
" You made it back then son " the monster bloke boomed at me
"yep no issues except the door fell off" i stuttered
The giant laughed and handed back my deposit,
Bloody hell do i try to run before he spots the flat roof or stroll out all casual like.
Before i had chance to do anything the giant spoke
" Thats the last time we will be renting that out, its off to the banger track this weekend, wasn't sure it would make your trip.. Hope you had a good time "
With those words stuck in my head we made our escape and went home chuckling to ourselves all the way.....that was a dam good jolly boys day out