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March 27, 2006

This weekend, members of Thurrock 18 Plus joined over 150 other Plussers from all over the country for the 18 Plus Spring Holiday at Brean Sands in Somerset. Matt and Joe were in a luxury caravan with members of Barking & Dagenham, Brentwood and Romford. Here are some of their abiding memories of the weekend.

  • Friday night at the main venue was a Vicars and Tarts party. By far the best costume was worn by a plusser named Juliette from Lichfield, who quite candidly admitted to your humble blogmaster that she had come as herself.
  • Later, after the end of the evening, a number of us trooped back to our caravan for nightcaps and watching the late-night poker. With us was one of our friends, to whom, to spare his embarassment, I shall refer only as “Sherlock”. I offered Sherlock some of my Overproof Rum (75% ABV), saying to him “Mind – that is two or three times the strength of ordinary rum.” Whereupon he promptly poured himself a triple measure!
  • Saturday – the day of the Real-Ale Trip (“RAT”). A large number of Plussers got on to two coaches for a day trip into Bristol. I met up with Sherlock, he appeared to be somewhat green around the gills. After we had got on the coach and set off, poor Sherlock felt acutely ill and emptied his stomach contents into a plastic bag. This caused the coach to be stopped one time whilst the bag was disposed of. What a good job that it all went in the bag though, and not on the seat! This incident led to one of the greatest ironies of my time in 18 Plus – listening to Pete Mann of Coventry make fun of someone else for being drunk!
  • About ten minutes later, someone else on the same coach was also sick. Furious mutterings about “this coach is cursed” and “vomit comet” could be heard.
  • But eventually we arrived in Bristol city centre where we set up camp in a supposedly real-ale pub – which only served one Real-Ale. A lot of people stayed here for lunch and drinking; others wandered around Bristol, in particular to the market. Some just tried to find a place which was showing the football! Given that it was raining I tried to venture out of doors as little as possible.
  • About 4pm we set off back on the coaches, but stopping off at a Cider Farm, which was giving out free samples as well as selling Cider and Cider-related products (Cider Brandy, Cider-flavoured cheese, etc). I did not buy anything myself, although I did try the Hot Mulled Cider, which was very nice. Thence back to the camp site.
  • Meanwhile, it transpired that our Matt had gone to Dartmoor for the day. Unfortunately, he had hit a stone in the unusually slippery conditions and damaged his radiator. Luckily his insurance meant that he could return to Brean for the rest of the weekend before being taken back to Grays to have the car fixed, but it meant he didn’t get back the Saturday evening until last orders!
  • Saturday evening, there was an illusionist, followed by a band was playing. Sherlock was drinking sensibly now. Later (after Matt had arrived), we went off to find a party (there was one being held in the caravan next door to us).
  • Sunday, there was Line Dancing, a General Knowledge quiz, Boozy Bingo, Karaoke and talent show. Our team, called King Chunder and His Band of Merry Men, didn’t win the quiz, although we were the only team to know the meaning of Cold Lunch. Steve Browning, on our table, won the top prize in the Boozy Bingo, so we had to help him drink it. The Karaoke was rather short – everyone was spared my sensitive interpretation of “The Irish Rover” – and the talent show mainly consisted of what appeared to be a slug-balancing act.
  • Sunday evening, there was another band playing. However the main entertainment was provided by our very own Matt, who proved himself quite a star! Matt was able to trick a member of Romford, whom I shall refer to as “Foggy”, to some railings outside the venue! Matt apparently convinced Foggy that a lady with kinky tastes really fancied him. Foggy was eventually released, but not until everyone had had a good laugh and taken pictures etc.

So all in all a very fun weekend, and my congratulations to Adam Redshaw, Brean Chairman, and his team of helpers: Kirsty, Emma, and Adrian.

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