After a few force starts I’m rocking and rolling with the book now, just reached the 10,000 word point on the first draft. However, that may mean only 2,000 will end up in the final book, after numerous drafts and proofreading has happened. Writing the book about that walk is taking me down memory lane, and I don’t mean last year from the walk, but other memories of times past keep flooding through. Think they did on the walk too.
One is from the start Minehead, the year 1979, the only other time I had visited the place before last April. It was our first ever family holiday to Butlins. Which ended out to be a huge family holiday. The six of us with grandparents, mum’s side, and cousins from Bletchley. My Nan, dad’s side, and his older sister plus kids. It would also be my last carefree summer before starting secondary school, and four years of sheer hell would start. In the meantime, I was on holiday for the first time with my family and my older cousin ‘partner in crime’ Dave.
Being 11 and Dave 14 we were inbetweeners, too old for kid’s clubs and being babysat by the holiday sitting service, but also to young to join the adults in the evening in the bars and clubs around the site. We would roam around the holiday camp in the evenings, not sure what we did on most of them, apart from one. The comedian Mike Reid was performing in one of the bars. He was really famous at the time as a stand up on TV in a programme called ‘The Comedians’. On TV his act was clean, totally opposite to live. This evening he was performing in a bar that was at ground level, which had large front windows. Dave and I thought it would be a good idea to go and see him. This was a live performance in a holiday camp in a time when children were put to bed at a decent hour. Mr Reid could be as rude and crude as he liked, let’s be honest that’s why our parents and many other parents were there. Being a warm August evening the door to the bar was open, so with Mike on mike we could hear every word. To be able to see we nicked a beer crate from around the back and turn it upside down to stand on and looked through the window above people’s heads. Mike was on top form, roars of laughter rolled out the door as we giggled wobbling on the crate. When suddenly Mr Reid looked straight at us, we ducked down waited until he was back in middle flow and slowly stood up to continue watching. Next time Mr Reid didn’t give us any idea he had spotted us again, and just over the mike called out ‘Whose kids are those’?. Now you would have thought that would have made us run for the hills, but instead we froze to the sticky beer create and our eyes scanning the room to see our parents, by which time my Mum had gone bright red, and had to admit ownership. I think we and Mum were waiting for him to lose his temper after all his act shouldn’t have been heard by a 14-year-old who may have thought he was old enough, and surely not by a 11 year old country pumpkin. Instead he laughed, and called out ‘Would you like a coke?’ we nodded. Called to the bar staff to take us out a coke. And said something to my Mum, who came out with the cokes and asked us to leave. Fair enough, I wasn’t bothered, we had seen a famous man, been given a free coke and beside I hadn’t understood half what he was talking about, he wasn’t like he was on the telly.