Monday, April 18, 2005

Four Important Tasks

OK. I’ve succumbed to procrastineurosis quite long enough. It’s time to get on with the refurbishment and let the truth take care of itself…

Time has moved on. Bertha has made the short inaugural journey from Vauxhall to Bishops Stortford. Yaya has stumped up the money and taken Simon with him to collect the vehicle of dreams. Doubtless fretting over every single clunk and rattle on the way.

Or they may have been too bombed to care. No-one can remember this part very clearly, which inclines me to the latter theory.

Whatever. Bertha is now parked out the back of 123 Hadham Road, drawing bewildered glances from the frankly well-heeled local residents every time they turned out of Maze Green Road to drive into town. Including, as it happened, my tyrannical ex-housemaster who lived a few doors down (this is a subject best avoided as it takes us four years back in the opposite direction and if I go there the narrative will start to resemble the universe curving in on itself and it will therefore become exceedingly tricky to write).

Stick to the subject, Mark. The truck is parked. The truck is attracting attention. The truck is about to be fitted out and painted and made thoroughly habitable by the sparing standards of the day and will therefore soon be attracting even more attention. We sincerely hope.

There are four of us at this point. Me, Ya, Stu, and Mark F. We have issued ourselves a challenge to come up with enough money to leave for Istanbul sometime shortly after the 20th July. We know that’s the target date because there’s no way we’re going to Europe in this thing without first parading it big time at Knebworth. Besides, we’ve all bought tickets.

In parallel with finding the money, we have four important tasks:

1/ Decorate Bertha.

2/ Make Bertha cosy, with enough beds to sleep six people. Seven at a pinch.

3/ Make Bertha practical. You know the sort of thing: storage space, spare tyres, oil, fanbelts, find out how the engine works.

4/ Figure out who else is coming with us.

Even at this early stage, item four on the list is presenting something of a challenge. There are, frankly, more candidates than there are places on the bus.

Here they all are:

- Simon. Already discussed. See above. Sorry, below. More to come.

- Martin. Simon’s best mate and full-time driver of the Pig. A master of leatherwork, woodwork, needlework, metalwork – in fact any kind of work you care to mention up to and including waxing-the-ends-of-your-moustache work. I’m not kidding. He could have entered competitions.

- Libby. See below. More to come.

- Liney. Libby’s younger sister. Always the fierier of the two. Future authentic Greenham Common woman. By which I mean the full nine yards: camped outside the airbase till they took the Cruise missiles away, or something. This has no bearing on the Bertha story but always impressed me: the best I ever managed was one crappy protest march.

- Paul. Another old friend. Currently working with Stuart for Uttlesford District Council, where they’re learning to clear all sorts of hideous blockages from the drains. To this day, Paul reckons he can find underground water with a bent coathanger.

- Andy. One-time leader (if I’m honest) and keyboard player in the strikingly-less-than-legendary Bishops Stortford band Brea Hill. I was the bassist. Currently studying something extremely academic at York University. In fact Andy may not even be a candidate at this point, since he's still away in York.

Pat. Fellow photography student at the LCP. Not strictly speaking a candidate, since I know he's planning to go to Amsterdam in the summer and I've already jumped the gun by offering him a ride. This makes Pat number-seven-at-a-pinch, thus simultaneously ensuring plenty of onboard space for the rest of us when we got to Mediterranean parts and compounding the selection problem because there are now only two berths left.

I have documentary evidence of Pat’s existence:

Pat Posted by Hello

Eagle-eyed fashion obsessives will note the expertly-applied embroidered patches on Pat’s left leg. Otherwise, no further comment required. Unless you insist.

Meanwhile, much as we probably did at the time, let’s neatly sidestep the who’s on the bus problem and get on with the really interesting stuff: interior décor…


Blogger Deirdre said...

I'd like to know why Pat was draped in a tarpaulin (or is it a blanket?)

Also, Paul is right: you can find underground water with a coathanger. I was a complete sceptic until I saw it done here on the farm. The water was just where the bloke said it would be.

12:12 pm  
Blogger broomhilda said...

Get to decorating, but remove the pin-up, it's so sexist! I thought you were more evolved.

And yes dowsing works.

1:13 pm  
Blogger Mark Gamon said...

The tarpaulin can probably be explained. The face painting is a mystery...

1:56 pm  
Blogger Deirdre said...

I thought the face painting was snow falling...

2:02 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"strikingly-less-than-legendary Bishops Stortford band Brea Hill"
As a wholly incompetent 15 year old proto-guitarist and BS College day prisoner in 1972, I take issue with the suggestion that Brea Hill are (were?) anything less than legendary. The sensations of gyrating my unwelcome hips in the melee of haughty hippyettes in front of the band, upstairs in the Rhodes Centre after 3 pints of cider was (were?) my introduction to live music and left a deep scar, I mean "impression". I can and do still hum Brea Hill's killer riff of the time (9 notes followed by 3 chords - I don't suppose that helps) as and when required, and it still gets the adrenaline going. As for the occasion when, supporting Barclay James Harvest in Harlow, Brea Hill were allegedly so suave as to be mistaken for the headliners, evidenced by shouts from the audience of "where's your orchestra?", that had already passed into legend before I had mastered the arpeggios of "House of the Rising Sun". How I wished, and still do, that I was the guitarist in Brea Hill!

9:37 pm  

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