It’s the first weekend in November, and that can only mean one thing: the annual Plus holiday known as WASH, at Searles Holiday Park in Hunstanton, Norfolk. As in the style of previous years, here is my memoir of the weekend.
Travelling up on Friday, courtesy of a lift by Mr Matt Garland, Thurrock’s PRO. Leaving Grays comparatively early (for Matt that is), we managed to get to the famous Beers Of Europe, which has been a regular stop-off for us on the way to WASH in years past. This time, I did not bother getting a selection, as I already knew exactly what I wanted: Desperados – a French beer flavoured with Tequila (and a hint of lime) – and 5.9%! Clearly, Adam Redshaw, who introduced me to this beverage earlier this year, had not yet arrived from Coventry, as there were still plenty of bottles of it left!
On arriving at Searles, Matt casually let slip to someone whilst chatting that certain people in Thurrock had brought their own fireworks with them. Unfortunately the person he mentioned this to was the organiser of the holiday, Keith Israel, who could now theoretically blackmail us in the future! D’oh!
On arriving in our luxury chalet, we discovered that the other members of Thurrock had arrived before us. And of course had gone to Beers of Europe as well as there was a large box of different types of beer. Curiously, some of the bottles were the vile Chilli Beer, which I tried last year but didn’t particularly like. When I later spoke to the owner, he said that he had bought them as a present for someone. Presumably whom he didn’t like.
Friday evening there was one band playing, who played two sets. The second set they disguised themselves as Glam Rock musicians, in a cunning plan to make us think they were a different band. I unfortunately did not repeat my usual trick of getting some hot chick to strip down to her lingerine in the middle of the dance floor, as for a long time I was collared by various national officers wanting to know how to sort out Training, the constitution, etc etc etc. Harumph! You can take the man out of the NEC, but…
Saturday started with the Karaoke. I am afraid I squandered my appearance by singing a song that I forgot was two-thirds instrumental (“White Room” by Cream). There was also a film being put on especially for us at the local cinema, “Over the Hedge”. Later, after having gone for a swim during the afternoon, there was the Thurrock firework display (Unofficial), which unlike last year was not disrupted by the tides. Also, yours truly did not step in any puddles. After some aperitifs back at the chalet, we all carried the youngest member of Thurrock with us to the venue. First there was Comedy – I was pleased to see that there were three comedians this year, which is one up from last time! There was also some band called Shamus O’Blivion & The Mega Death Morris Dancers, although for some reason I missed them, as I was detained in the other bar.
Sunday, and it was the WASH Quiz. Of course, it isn’t just the winning, the honour is to take part, or more precisely, to come up with the funniest team name. This year Thurrock entered as Richard Hammond’s Brake-Fitters. We did not win, we only came a mediocre 10th out of 22, although yours truly did get a small consolation prize for taking part in the community singing. There was also prizes presented to group Booking-agents who had managed to increase the number of people from their group coming to WASH, compared with 2005. As it happened this included our Dave – as we had increased from four to five. He received a bottle of Rosé, with which he seemed to be happy, although I was disappointed, because as a strict Red-drinker it would mean I would not be able to share it with him!
Sunday evening, there was a band called Pop Goes the 80s, who were good – their front man did a good impression of some of the more androgynous characters from 1980s pop-music. After the venue closed, I loaded up my remaining Desperados into a box and went in search of a caravan party. The one that was widely touted – 207 – turned out to be a bit of a tall story, as the occupants themselves were not aware they were going to have a party there. Eventually I, along with most other people, turned up at the WASH Committee’s own Chalet, until we got chucked out at about 4am.
Finally, it was Monday morning, and nothing to do but pack up and be on our way. First though we had to get rid of all the bread and cakes that we still had, which pleased the local duck population no-end. Afterwards, we were clearing away the living room, and one of us wondered what the local ducks thought of being fed our left-over danish pastries. “Well, why don’t we ask this fellow?” I said, pointing to a drake who had wandered in. Yes someone had left the front door open! Cue much consternation as we tried to usher the feathered interloper out of the door, without it crapping on the carpet too many times. This we eventually managed: it was left to Matt to go around with the toilet paper afterwards, although as he had tried and failed to play some sort of practical joke on me earlier in the weekend, my heart was not exactly bleeding for him.
So, all in all, thanks to Keith Israel and the rest of the WASH committee, and here I leave as advice for boosting attendance at WASH 2007 three little words: East of Java!