Arrived at John O'Groats, right? We continue. After confirming that yes, we were indeed there, we headed straight for the ice cream parlour. I'm not kidding. In the Northernmost point of the bloody country? Absolutely. It's bound to work! It almost seemed too easy to buy a cone for the sake of irony, didn't bother. Great air of solitude in what has been called the most dismal town in Scotland (never argue with Wikipedia), we'd stepped straight into The Wicker Man. We got our priorities straight and asked the local - well it couldn't be one of the locals, she was the only one - where the nearest pub was. We were directed to 'de onlee poob in John O'Groats' and as we walked away it struck me to ask what seemed like a question we didn't really require the answer to - "Where's the camp site?" It didn't open til the next day. How typical can you get? It's like typical Tom and his typical son said a typical thing from their typical home in Typicalsville, USA. Luckily Don Bongo had done his homework and we were well on the way to the other campsite half a mile down the road: Stroma View.
A dodgy Englishish (no typo) chap took our money and told us where to go, in every way. Remember you thought it was cold round your way a couple of months ago? No it wasn't. We set up the tent and it was at this point I learned Stroma is the Gaelic for hypothermia. Fucking. Freezing. You could actually breathe though, which was a plus. With the benefit of foresight on our side, we decided to walk to the pub, the Seaview Hotel. A point I raised later: they're the only hotel in the town, in the middle of this dreary tourist trap, that's the name they've went for? They could've called it anything from Josef Fritzl's Haunted Maze to Hannibal Lector's Masterchef Maison to Stephen Hawking's Football Boots, but they went for something that was not only boring, but misleading. You could barely see the sea from the place.
We toasted to our success and decided to try our hand at darts. Big mistake. After one of the locals spoke to us (yes, spoke! I know, I was fucking aghast too), we learned how the electronic scoreboard worked and were well on the way. Until myself and Captain Haddock crossed on the darts front. This couldn't be a good recipe. He won, but he hadn't been logging the score properly, supposedly. Even if he had been he'd still have won, but Bongo contested this. Jesus Christ Superstar, darts players should never fight as a rule - they were proper going mental at each other as I sat back in stitches. Eventually after realising we'd been mocking the locals all night, we thought it best to get our heads back in, or rather out of the game.
The drinks poured, the pool table was set up. It was that night I discovered my talent for pool, dear droogs. Bongo potted the black and I took the gold. As he set up again, the locals began biting back. "Shut the fuck up before I throw this pool ball off your fucking head" "You'll throw the pool ball off my maw?" I could feel my IQ dropping listening to DB and the druids fighting. Saw one ridiculous t-shirt there: it said "ANBG - That's bang out of order!" Those stupid shirts are bollocks, and I'll tell you something else - they're put about by the same people who laugh at my shoes! Bastards!
The pub was about to shut, so I made a friendly enquiry as to where to continue the drinking. I was pointed across the hall, outside the pub and to a function room. "Thanks very much" Spoke too soon. The three of us walked straight into some local lass's 21st. Oops. Oh well! The drinking continued, we blended in like amateurs in an Ed Wood feature. Here are just some highlights - a dodgy old gent trying to sell me his late wife's beamer for £1000; Haddock talking to a dead guy and to be honest, I haven't the foggiest idea what happened to Bongo, he flirted back and forth from the bar to the smoking area to halfway down the road home (?). Eventually CH approached me, DB in tow, and told me we had to leave cause a guy had died that night. I peeked in the window as we staggered off - the party was over at 2am, no one died. Was wondering why everyone seemed so cheerful if someone had just croaked/snuffed/shagged it.
We got back to the campsite eventually, each of us dying for a smoke, so we went in the car to get one. "I'm so sorry, I sold them to a dead guy on a horse" said the least sober of the three of us. We got one eventually. Those two crashed in the car (for want of a better phrase), I got out me sleeping bag and wandered to the tent. Wasn't sleeping in there after paying for a tent spot, no sirree bob. So I left the other Rastaman Rebels to their devices and after a visit from the local Blair Witch, drifted off.
Questions you should be asking yourself: What did you wake up to? Dead guy? Is Bruce Willis a ghost?
Well I'll answer one. As it turns out Captain Haddock had been engaged in conversation with a guy who had claimed to be terminally ill and as such was going to leave him all his 'gold and treasure'. Or so I was told. The rest you'll have to wait for. To be concluded.
In a bit.
The following is an excerpt from my Australia Journal 2008-09. Do you really think this is a film like Paul Blart Mall Cop? Do you think this will have a happy ending?
Wednesday 24th December 2008
Christmas eve at Wet 'n' Wild was unique. Woman in yashamac (spelling?) going down a flume - flange...Then along came a Mark for a BBQ. Morton Baye bugs aren't the nicest creatures I've ever devoured. Off to Starbucks, met Michael, we danced together and...yeah talkin' shit as usual. Pubbing it at the weekend I think. Writing live from Mark's, been watching Summer Heights High as we wrap presents and sip Stellas. I'll definitely go out like a lobby light. I'm sure back home is doing just fine just now, or they better be. Can't be expected to liven up every party. New Years with cuz and 2 or 3 mates. Ahoy!
"As long as you come back, that's all that really matters"