Holidays

Cornwall
One Bank Holiday Chippy decided he wanted to go for a drive in his small van and asked if I wanted to go with him, along with Glyn and I think Andy. Glyn recounts the story a bit later, however, the one thing he misses out is when the police in Cornwall stopped us. We were on the A30, heading towards Bodmin, when they stopped us. As far as we were aware we hadn’t been doing anything wrong. The van was serviceable; Chippy had a full licence and had not been drinking.

We all got out of the van and were told, quite abruptly to get back in, turn around and follow them. They said they didn't want people with long hair like us in Cornwall and escorted back to the county border with Devon. It was the sort of thing you see in Hollywood movies, usually cowboy stories, however this was Britain in the 60’s. When we were back in Devon and the police had gone, we turned round and headed back to our eventual destination, Newquay, via minor roads.

Jersey
Another memorable holiday was when Andy and I went to Jersey, with a friend of the group, Wayne Coughlin and his girlfriend Janet. We both think it was in July or August 1965. We took a train down to Weymouth, where we would get on a ferry to Jersey. Being fairly broke at the time; we bought single instead of return tickets, a decision that would make us quite miserable 2 weeks later. We were intending to camp, so took a couple of 2 man tents along with an assortment of camping gear in our rucksacks.

The ferry seemed to be full of young kids, most of who were dressed in scout uniforms heading off for some sort of camping activity, as they were also carrying rucksacks. The crossing to Jersey took a long time across extremely choppy waters. Ferries today take just over 5 hours for the journey, but I am sure it took closer to 8 hours in 1965. I can remember we were standing near the rails on one side of the ship, looking out to sea and we could feel spray hitting us in our faces. It was only when Andy looked to one side that he realised that the spray hitting us was in fact sick. A long queue of young scouts was being sick over the side and the wind was blowing it back right into our faces.

We decided to visit the toilets, down a couple of decks, to wash the, by then, evil smelling muck off our faces. Every toilet we entered was awash with sick and other evil smelling stuff. The plumbing certainly could not cope with the countless visits of people being sick or using the facilities. I decided to use one of my handkerchiefs, rather than wade through the liquid on the floor.

By this time, I was feeling a bit under the weather myself, so I went into one of the bars, to sit down. This was a big mistake, as the place, which had no windows, seemed to be moving from side to side. I sat there for a few minutes, before I had to rush up the stairs to the deck to be violently sick over the side.

Eventually the ferry reached St Helier, in Jersey and we disembarked to find a campsite. Not being at all organised, we hadn’t even bothered to try and book a campsite. We couldn’t get in at the ones near St Helier, but eventually found a place near St Brelades, which was about 5 miles away.

We had a great 2 weeks, spending most of our money getting drunk in the bars within a comfortable walking distance. One night we stumbled drunkenly back to our tents in complete darkness, none of us having any torches. I can remember tripping over a tent peg and hurting my left shin.  The next morning I awoke to find my leg was feeling quite sticky inside my sleeping bag. I got out and saw my whole left leg was covered in blood. I had fallen on top of another tent peg, the previous night and this had left a large gash in my shin. By the morning, it had stopped bleeding, so I gingerly washed it and put a plaster on the cut. I went to the doctors when I got home and he said I should have had a couple of stitches in the cut, but it was too late to do anything. I still have the scar nearly 50 years later.

At the end of the 2 weeks, we caught the ferry back to Weymouth. The journey back was not as choppy as the one to Jersey and nearly 8 hours later, we arrived at Weymouth. We soon discovered that none of us had enough money to buy a rail ticket back to Newport.  We decided that we would try and hitchhike to Newport, which was 120 miles away. Hitchhiking is difficult at the best of times; however, with 4 people it was going to be a challenge, so Andy and I decided to split up from Janet and Wayne.

The 2 of us walked for miles before getting our first lift. The other two had waved to us from a car that picked them up not long after we had parted. It took us 24 hours to complete that 120-mile journey. Needless to say, we didn’t even have a map, just relying on our memories where the names on signposts were in relation to our destination.

We had to pitch the tent on the verge of a road when it got too dark to see where we were going. In the morning, the only food we had left was a tin of beans. Not bothering to cook them, we just shared the cold beans. We can remember having a lift in the back of a lorry carrying fish, so by the time we reached Newport, we were tired, dirty and smelling of fish. Janet and Wayne had managed to get home the previous day, so the rule of hitchhiking, at least back then, seemed to be that you should do it with a female as company.

I met Wayne again for the first time since the 60s at one of the gigs we did in September and October 2013. Janet was no longer with him.

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