Once Upon A Time In The West

A few posts back I threatened to tell of when we went to Kilkhampton back in 1982 before I can do that I must first tell you about the sub holiday we went on first. The Pillars (See Go West) owned a holiday cottage in the Suffolk village of Hoxne. We stayed there a couple of times in the early eighties. We, in the summer of ’82, being me, Steve Pillar, Jeff Watts, Steve Knaggs, Mark Pyatt, and Andi Maskell. We had loaded Mark and Steve (P)’s cars with ourselves, some beer, and Maggie’s (Andi) stereo. Now I must point out at this juncture that the stereo in question was one several of has bought that year largely due to the fact it had a twin cassette and you could easily duplicate tapes. It was the Amstrad Tower System with record deck on top, radio, amps and cassette decks underneath and record storage below. It stood about 3 feet high and weighed a ton but it went to several places with us.

It was that very same unit that was tuned to Radio One on the Tuesday lunchtime as the new chart was being announced. I was outside when I heard Paul Burnette say that Freebird was back in the chart. I promptly dove through the open window in celebration. I did things like back in those days. My other memories of that little break were playing football under the multi-storey car park in Yarmouth during a storm whilst watching an endless string of women troop into a small terraced house opposite! Also, driving back through a Suffolk village we found it in darkness due to a power cut. We nevertheless ventured into a pub for a drink by candle light and gazing across the village green saw a telephone box all lit up. This caused us to hum both the theme from the Twilight Zone and OMD’s Red Frame White Light. It was the moment I learned that BT Phone boxes had their own power supplies shipped in with the phone lines.

Cornwall 1

The other abiding memory of that week was doing naked sit-ups on the landing but Jeff still has bad dreams so I won’t dwell on that.

So anyway, we had no sooner got home from Suffolk when she shipped back out to Cornwall. A hell of a drive, no doubt made easier for me by a few tinnies. This time there were 17 of us in two chalets plus Neil and Graham in a tent nearby. (We went out mob-handed like this most Saturdays. I remember once rolling up in a tiny pub in Chapmore End and the barman asked in all seriousness where we had parked the coach).

It was a nice little site and the onsite bar was called Reg’s. This amused us as one of our favourite watering holes was the Coach and Horses in Newgate Street run by Reg Newcombe, father of Laura (Who has featured in this blog before). There was also a club attached to Reg’s where we boogied the nights away. I seemed to have a white suit with me that year. I’d like to deny it but the photos exist. The record of the holiday was without doubt Abracadabra by the Steve Miller Band.

Cornwall 2

On one of the days we decided to have a beach day and headed for the coast. I cannot recall the name of the beach we went to despite having a good look on Google Earth. I can picture it clearly in my head but couldn’t locate it. Perhaps one of the others will know (Claire? Julie?). Anyway, we arrived en masse at a pub on the top of the cliffs and everyone had a drink. After one, several of them started to make their way to the beach whilst other stayed for a second. One by one, the drinkers departed to become beach bums until only Henry and I were left. I’m guessing we had about 8 pints when 2.30pm came around and we were kicked out. Yes, young people. In the bad old days, pubs shut between 2.30pm and 5pm!!! So Henry and I wander down the path to the cliff edge and look onto the beach. We soon spot our crowd. Hard to miss being so many. What we don’t see is the long, easy, gently sloping path to the beach that is off to our right. Failing to detect that, Henry and I decide to scale the 20 foot cliff instead. Now you have to understand that when sober I’m nervous about steps over 6” tall. Drunk though, we both descended that crumbling cliff face with speed and ease. It was later when I decided to go swimming in the sea, swam out a long way after a ball and got a massive cramp in the back of my calves that my life flashed before my eyes. But I survived.

I’m thinking this might have been the same night we ended up in another strange club attached to a country pub where I consumed an additional 13 pints and paraded around singing 21 today. I believe it was the first time I drank that many in the day. It was not the last time and it was not the most I drank but hey-ho, I survived.

1982 was also World Cup year. England were in the finals for the first time since 1970. We watched a few games whilst we were there. England managed to get kicked out without losing a game. Little did they know that soon their fortunes would be decided on penalties.

Well, we didn’t get kicked out of Cornwall on penalties. In fact we liked it so much we went back again the following year but that, I guess is another post.

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