Following on from yesterday’s post about the impromptu trip to the beach, today’s post is about everything which made that trip so unbelievably sublime.
I was picked up eventually at about 7:30, my friend arriving in her battered Land Rover with canvas roof. Slinging my guitar into the back, I hopped up into the front and we embarked on the first leg of our journey. We swung by a nearby town to pick up another two travelling companions and then hit the open road. The plan was to meet up with a convoy of travellers and then head west en masse. Our final destination was the small seaside town of Brean, which for this day only was playing host to a meeting of retro car enthusiasts.
Aside: I should state at this juncture that I am not a retro car enthusiast, but I love a good journey, even if the sound of the engine is so loud that I can barely hear myself think.
Parking up on the beach after some four hours of travelling, we finally got out and stretched our legs. It was a bizarre sight – a motley contingent of old cars, some modified, some apparently falling apart, and a whole load of people who were incredibly impressed with this sort of thing. I and a few others from my group decided to leave the beach and see if we could find some local amusements. Eventually we arrived at the ironically named “Fun City”.
Fun City had a video arcade in it, which was a primary goal for us. However, the dance machine was broken, which was a disappointment to start with. Never mind, we thought, there’s House of the Dead 4. Pumping some money in, my friend and I took our weapons and prepared to do terrible things to hordes of zombies. Only we realised that we’d been had. The guns didn’t work! We decided to cut our losses and leave the arcade.
The rest of Fun City was bizarre. The grounds contained a collection of low-quality fairground attractions which looked to be the exact opposite of fun; and yet there were some shouts of joy (I assume) coming from the variety of customers in attendance. The staff, however, looked nigh-suicidal. It made for an interesting juxtaposition. If I had any artistic talent, I’d probably paint a picture based on the place (but I don’t, so that’s not going to happen).
So we decided to head further down the road. We eventually came across another video arcade, which not only had a working dance machine (which I proudly hopped on, nailing three songs on “difficult” setting), but also a working House of the Dead 4 machine, which (to our simultaneous delight and chagrin) was half the price of the previous machine! Had we known, we could have saved some money. There’s probably a life lesson in here somewhere. My skill at shooting zombies with laser-uzis is apparently lower than my talent for quadristep dance challenges, and I was killed pretty quickly. My friend, on the other hand, was playing like a woman possessed, slaying the undead with reckless abandon. Eventually, however, she succumbed to a marauding four armed zombie with a long tongue and enormous feet. I hope there isn’t a life lesson in there.
We headed casually back to the beach, and I unslung my guitar and played a few tunes. After a while however, the subwoofer in the back of another land rover proved to be a better choice. With a barbecue grilling some bratwurst we danced on the sand to The Prodigy Experience. I was filled with an incomparable feeling. On the beach on a (reasonably) nice day, classic tunes blasting away, surrounded by great people, dancing until I couldn’t dance any more, and then stuffing my face with spicy German sausage. And we were only halfway through the day.
When it was time to leave, I opted to ride with some other friends in a different land rover (also with a canvas roof). We hit the motorway with the sides up and the sub turned up loud. Streaking across country to the tunes of Leftfield, we drew looks from almost all cars that passed. I guess seeing someone dancing in the back of an ex military land rover with no sides at 56 mph is enough to turn people’s heads. Some people were smiling, some seemed to be joining in the dance, still others looked utterly bewildered. All of this just made me smile more. We turned up the music and pressed on.
When we stopped for fuel, someone decided that as we were all having such a great time, we should head to an all you can eat Chinese restaurant. Pretty flawless plan, in all honesty. We hopped back in and headed north, a convoy of two old land rovers. I had the opportunity to lean out the sides and feel the wind in my hair, and I took it. I felt unbelievably happy. More than that, I felt alive.
The meal was great, and the prices were great. The company I was in was superlative. Much great conversation was had, on a myriad of topics, but eventually we decided to call it a night, and head home.
Eventually, I crawled into bed around 10:30. Early for me, but I was exhausted, and nothing I did that night could possibly compare to the day’s events, so I decided to end it there and get some sleep. An exchange of texts with friends reflecting on what has been dubbed “the best day ever” guided me into a sound sleep.
When opportunity presents itself, grab hold with both hands, and to hell with the consequences. Yesterday will be hard to beat.