Brothers-In-Law In A Double Bed
Well, I had one of my thankfully infrequent “sleep talking” incidents again last night. While I am often prone to making the odd noise or crying out in my sleep, actually talking in my sleep or holding a conversation is less common. But, last night my better half was woken by me talking. When she endeavoured to get me to go to the spare room I replied along the lines of “But we haven’t got there yet!” When she tried yet again I retorted, apparently having checked the time on the bedside clock, “But we still have five hours to get there!” Then I went and slept, somewhat furtively, in the spare room.
I moved to the spare room quite gingerly. I am still in recovery from the annual Lads’ Walking Weekend which left me with a couple of knackered knees, a stiff right leg, and aches and pains all over my body. Ouch, ouch, ow, ouch. Presumably, my “sleep talking” was linked to the pain I was feeling and involuntary flashbacks to the trial of the weekend – six grumpy old men and their new young gimp (aged 32) walking from Westward Ho! to Bude, via Clovelly and Hartland Quay in bright sunshine, too little breeze, and, temperatures in the mid to high twenties. As far as I could tell, the Devonshire coast was truly beautiful, if the scenery was somewhat blurred through the tears of my pain.
Westward Ho!, apparently the only place in the UK with an exclamation mark in its name, could do with a lick of paint and a bit of care and attention. And, I would certainly sack the town planner. It was the usual pitiful array of run down B&Bs, fish and chip shops, and amusement arcades that is to be found in any English seaside resort. Thankfully, however, we were there just to eat, drink and sleep, arriving after 8pm. For, Westward Ho! is a strange place indeed.
The pub on the Friday night was packed with locals. The locals looked genetically challenged and spent most of the night discussing the size of their runner beans. They clearly didn’t get out to the big city too often. Fashion there is by Primark and Matalan in Westward Ho! And, the pub grub was somewhat disappointing.
In the morning, we paid and bode farewell to our God Botherer host in the B&B -for which we received a blessing in return. We split the various chores between the group – shuffling cars to the next destination (including a spot of frankly unnecessary road rage from Volvo Man), and, buying lunch – and had a relaxed coffee under an umbrella from where we took in the view.
Westward Ho! was teaming with young surfer dudes sporting tans, six packs (lucky bastards) and very tacky tattoos; plump young girls sporting ice-creams (presumably as their puddings, having consumed a pasty or two before venturing out of doors); old women in wheelchairs being pushed about by their carers from the local home; and pasty looking families heading for the beach.
Much to our amusement, someone had left a pair of false teeth on the chair next to our table. This was retrieved by the waiter with a grimace and a pair of rubber gloves. Even funnier was the fact that the teeth’s owner returned to retrieve them. He was a fat, bald, red-faced man with man-boobs that Jordan would have been proud of.
Oh, and then we walked, limped and hobbled our way the twelve miles or so to Clovelly.
Clovelly is a lovely spot with friendly cats and a tame fox. Apparently the village has been privately owned by the same family since 1066. Gleaming white cottages clinging to a steep cliff face with narrow cobbled streets leading down to a busy little quay. There are no cars in the village (they wouldn’t fit) so everything gets transported by donkey and wooden sledge. Unfortunately, only half of our group made it in time for the six o’clock cream tea deadline. The walking wounded had to make do with a pint of beer. No prizes for guessing which camp yours truly was in.
I suspect that we may have made a slight impression on the inhabitants of Clovelly. There had been a slight mix-up over the rooms at our hotel, requiring two of our number to be located in a B&B a few doors further down the hill and two of our number almost came to blows when one suggested to the organiser of our little sojourn that he deserved a discount. Thankfully, after a few heated words at the dinner table they went outside and hugged it out. Eyebrows had been raised earlier in the Beer Garden when another of the Lads dropped his jar of Vaseline! The same Lad prompted more comedy by wearing a pair of old comfy slippers in which to descend the precarious cobbled slope to the pub at the quay after dinner. He is prone to blisters you see. I am not sure if news of our presence had preceded us to the pub, but once there one of the locals stated “you Lads must be either divers or fishermen”. Unfortunately, neither.
Some of the loudest exchanges within our merry band, however, were around whose turn it was to share the double bed. Fortunately, I was excluded from this debate as I had paid extra for single occupancy throughout the weekend. As much as I love my mates, they snore, smell and fart, and, I like my privacy in the bathroom. And, I wish to spare them all the experience of me talking in my sleep. The two brothers-in-law unfortunately drew the short straws and had to share the double bed. This was rather un-nerving for the younger of the two (now known as the young gimp) as this was his first time on the Lads’ Walk and the rest of us somehow gave him the impression that this was some sort of initiation rite. He too had spied the Vaseline earlier in the night. Whatever, the two brothers-in-law made a pact that whatever happened in the room, stayed in the room. And so it did. There was not a single muttering of spooning or an involuntary erection at the breakfast table.
Myself and one other unfortunately failed a late fitness test in the morning. We were not considered to be up to the full arduous ten miles or so from Clovelly to Hartland Quay. So, we offered to shuffle the cars, fill up on diesel, take in a coffee and the newspapers at Bude, and to start walking from the opposite end in order to meet up with the rest of the boys along the route.
Bude is a dump and seemingly bereft of a Starbucks or a single umbrella under which to perch while sipping a Latte. And so we ended up in a tiny, old-fashioned cafe where we were joined by a group of old people with Eastend accents and leathery faces lined like the streets of Venice. They had left their dogs howling in the car outside and reminisced about how one of their number had once been so sick eating spotted dick and custard that they hadn’t been able to eat it for years afterwards. Bizarrely, one of the old girls ordered an Espresso coffee “but not too strong!”
Suitably refreshed, my fellow invalid and I commenced our walk to meet our mates. Bloody hell. What the buggers hadn’t told us was that the stretch that we were doing was the hardest of the lot. And we had to do it twice. There and back. We endured five miles of agony. It was one steep descent followed by one steep climb after another. We were, frankly, buggered.
In truth, we are all beginning to feel our age now. Most of us have resorted to using walking poles to take the pressure of ageing joints. And, those who didn’t this year have vowed to do so next. The downside is that we are now so slow at the walking bit that we leave ourselves very little time for the drinking bit before collapsing in our beds through exhaustion. However, while we are all carrying a few more pounds than we have in the past, we, to a man, managed to suck it all in on cue while the very attractive blonde in the tight leggings walked past us at Bucks Mill. There was certainly no VPL there! Nice.
Thanks for a great weekend guys and see you next year. Now, where are those details of my BUPA subscription.
Entry filed under: humour, middleman, travel, TV. Tags: blonde, bude, clovelly, devon, double bed, gimp, grumpy, hiking, involuntary erection, jordan, man boobs, rambling, rant, sleep talking, spooning, talking in my sleep, vaseline, vpl, walking weekend, westward ho.