Foxy, Jack, Dumb, Dumber, Scotty, Sam’s Ex, Tex, Sully Snr, Goldie, Sav, Smiffy, Thumb, Chief, Rex, Truss, Arnie, Joey, Ernie, Petts, Pablo, Cowshot, Monty, Beefy.
With everyone up for the tour a meet at the Brow on a lovely bank holiday Monday for 10 am was preceded with a few tour WhatsApp messages between the tour party, including one from Dumb of “can we leave yet”. All tour party were to read the tour bible before we set off for rules of engagement and behaviour on tour. The tour shirts were distributed with everyone’s name on, with Sam’s Ex being so big he could use it as a dress on another occasion. While waiting for the off a few of the boys would partake of a few bevvys. A decision that would have repercussions pretty quickly. Not knowing what the day would bring forth, we all set off in great spirits. Many routes were mentioned and the two buses decided on A12, M25, M1, M6, M54 with the first stop to be Corley services on the M6 for lunch. Not even thirty minutes into the journey and the first comfort break was needed by the bus with the breakfast bevvy club. There is an unconfirmed report that the police are looking for a flasher who allegedly took a number two. Meanwhile the second van was making fine progress towards the services at Corley. No real dramas yet. In the first van a geography/football lesson was discussed as to Aston Villas move to London.
Then it all happened.
At 13:15 the breakfast bevvy club bus broke down on the M6 with a terminal illness described as “*ucked”. Meanwhile the second bus was tucking into KFC at the services when the call came for international rescue in the form of Rex in the now named second bus of thunderbird 13. So the four guys in thunderbird 13 volunteered to stay at the services while Rex went to get the guys stranded on the M6. Just as Rex in thunderbird 13 was getting to the guys a call came from the services four that they had been rescued by the other tour party members, now known as the relief crew, who were not going by tour bus. This consisted of Scotty, Ernie, Jack and Arnie. Strangely what had been a nice leisurely drive for the relief crew suddenly turned Scotty in Ayrton Senna. When asked why the explanation was the new passengers gave him the motivation to go faster.
Thunderbird 13 had now reached the stricken van on the M6 and had confirmed the death rights and “*ucked” verdict. Truss and one other would be needed to stay with the dead bus and wait the arrival of the RAC. Smiffy was volunteered by the rest of the boys to stay with Truss. Once all the bags from thunderbird 13 had been transferred to the dead bus, in order for all the boys to be able to embark on thunderbird 13, the sacrifice of the day was made by Chief to relieve Smiffy of staying with dead bus till the RAC arrived. An hour was given as a waiting time. This would give some optimism. They arrived within 30 mins.
Thunderbird 13 had now gotten the starving and thirsty breakfast bevvy club to the services.
A call from the now named M6 duo came that the RAC would not in fact be able to tow the dead bus as it was bigger than the RAC van. A low loader would be needed to move the dead bus. Now fed and watered the boys from the breakfast bevvy club made their way to the hotel in Shrewsbury in thunderbird 13. Then the first of many calls from the M6 duo arrived. The low loader would pick them and the dead bus up before 5.30pm. A tent and sleeping bag request was shortly followed by a new ETA of the low loader of 6.15pm. By now the boys were at a watering hole in Shrewsbury sampling the local ales while awaiting the arrival of the kit and the M6 duo.
By now the M6 Duo were gasping and their stomachs had thoughts that their throats had been cut. To the rescue came Goldie in the form of a lifesaver txt that there was water in his kit on the dead bus. Then Goldie mentioned that there might be food on board as well. The M6 duo now saved from death by thirst and starvation. However, 6.15 came and went and still no low loader. 6.50 and the M6 duo had found the fines bible and noted the first general rule. They were breaking the lateness rule. Then Eureka, 7.10, the low loader had arrived but with a sting in the tail. “Praise the lord” rang out at the watering hole. But the now bonded M6 duo could not stay together as the low loader could not take any passengers as it had no seatbelt and only one seat. Would the bond be broken? ….. NO. the duo decided to stay together and get the low loader to take them to the services where they would be able to get a taxi for the final part of their journey. With the Taxi due at 8.30 the duo decided to take advantage of the KFC and were now far from wasting away.
Taxi did not arrive till 9pm. An end to the long wait and finally the M6 duo could be on their way to the hotel and be reunited with the rest of the tout party. Unbelievably the taxi was low on fuel but did not think to fill up at the services when picking up the M6 duo. So M6 duo would need to stop again. In the meantime, the dead bus with the kit had arrived on the low-loader at the hotel to be unloaded of said kit. Now the dead bus needed to be transported 300 yards to the car park/ elephant graveyard or where ever buses go to die. So Rex of thunderbird 13 fame went with the low-loader and the dead bus to show the driver where to go. 30 minutes had passed and Rex had failed to return. The M6 duo had finally arrived to a hero’s welcome from the boys who plied them with much needed alcohol to relive their arduous journey. But where was REX? Had he been kidnapped? A txt arrived with his location but thankfully no ransom demand. He was at least 3 miles away. The driver had taken Rex on a wrong turn and was heading out of Shrewsbury.
When would the whole party ever be reunited?
Eventually REX arrived and the whole party could now say they had all made it to Shrewsbury. What had the M6 duo missed?
Well it was established that there is no difference between a washing machine and Freezer, as Dumber relayed having been locked in a washing machine as a kid(really it was a freezer). It is so hard to tell the difference in fairness to Dumber as they are both white and kitchen appliances.
This is a town full of Thumb lookalike.
A pre Wimbledon challenge was issued between Arnie and Beefy and the figure of 50 pound a set was discussed. Would beefy win a game let alone a set. Beefy took umbridge at this and cried “have you seen his limp backhand”. Thumb offered to arrange a court for Thursday morning to resolve the issue. Will we ever get the answer to the question, will John “Beefy” McEnroe win a game? Joey was nominated as skipper for the first game by the non-playing members of the tour.
By now the boys had drunk the watering hole dry of dark cider and IPA.
One great piece of news Truss would become a dad.
Good effort boys and bodes well for the coming week.
Joey had sent a callout for a 7am run, but failed to show himself. Breakfast at the hotel and everyone was present for the first time. A whole tour party at last.
Smiffy had arranged for a new bus to be delivered to the ground of our hosts for the day WEM cricket club. This was promised for 5 pm. Would this be the case or yet another optimistic timeframe.
With the club flag proudly unfurled a tour party photo was taken outside the hotel.
A short drive to the host ground in WEM. As nominated driver and local guide Thumb was in thunderbird 13, but seemed to forget that as lead in a convey you should let the other cars be able to follow.
Having won the toss Joey decided to field. Thirty overs a side, due to WEM having a T20 game in the evening.
Part of the tour rules was “FLY” & “SUPERFLY”. Where if a non-playing member of the tour Shouted “FLY”, all the players of that day would become dead flies, by laying on their backs with legs in the air. “SUPERFLY” was all tour members to be dead flies. Our hosts were caught out when the first “FLY” was called and were wondering what the hell was happening when all the players suddenly were on their backs with legs in the air.
Ernie was on fines today and the list of fines were too numerous to list. Below is a sample.
Hurrah…. The replacement bus had arrived. The journey back to the hotel was uneventful except Cowshot kept the occupants of the replacement bus awake by clipping a kerb or two. It was decided that a few of the touring team would watch the T20 game as it was only across the river from the hotel.
What would be the venue for dinner tonight? Thai and Pizza Express were the winners with an even distribution to either. After dinner a walk to the aptly named “hole in the wall” pub, situated next to a bank with a few ATM’s, would be the watering hole for the evening. Shock… the last orders were 11pm. The boys then walked around town and eventually decided on Montgomery’s. Some of the tour were playing golf in the morning and started drifting back to the hotel as there was an early wake up. However, a few hardy souls stayed in town and found a club to quench their thirsts. The rumour that 3 & 4am being the time all touring members made it to bed are as yet unconfirmed.
Tomorrow’s skipper would be Thumb.
The roll call for golfing tour party participants was 6.30am for breakfast and departure for the course at 7am for a 7.30 am first tee off. The 6.30am call was made as this is the time breakfast starts at the hotel. Dumber went down for breakfast at 5.50am. Scotty, being one of the alleged stop outs, was woken by a 6am alarm and when asked by his roommate if he was still going to golf responded with a “I will take the fine” and turned off the alarm. It’s not every day you wake up and open the hotel door and see an ironing board and iron blocking the door. Obviously a tour member wanted everyone to be smart for the day.
The golfers made their way to Alscott Golf Club for the tour golf morning. The makeup of this was first off Arnie, Joey, Pablo and Monty. Second group Dumber, Chief and Thumb. Third group Tex, Cowshot and Sully. Fourth was Jack, Sams’Ex, Petts and Ernie. So notable mentions, Joey, who says has never had a lesson except for the Lee Westward weeks tuition, 1over after 9 holes, Chief’s eagle after chipping in for two. Sully’s long driving, and the fourth group’s super effort of 9 holes in 3.5 hours. The other groups all managed 18 holes in just over 4 hours.
Golf Finished and back to the hotel to pick up the rest of the tour party for the second of the tour games. The hosts were Knockin & Kinnerley. The game was delayed due to the weather and would be reduced to a 20 over a side game. Tea was taken with Sav’s comment of best tea ever being met with derision and was told to remember some of the very good teas provided at the brow.
This was to be the social event evening of the year the “Shit Shirt” night. Straight after the game everyone on the tour donned their “shit shirt” for the whole evening. There were some beauties from an Aztec creation to a glitter ball replica, an African tribal to dead leopard print. Superb effort boys. The contest for the shittiest shirt was eventually judged by the opposition team and smiffy’s creation of up to a dozen different designs in one shirt, flowers, spots, patterns etc., was deemed the winner. There were some shirts it was agreed that could be worn out in Colchester or indeed on holiday. We decamped to a local watering hole supposedly only 10 mins away. We were to discover that time in Shrewsbury is merely relative and 10 mins in Thumb time is 20-30 mins for everyone else. This timing would become a feature of the tour.
Now trying to get 23 blokes in dodgy shirts into a pub with the bar the size of a phone box was never going to happen. Luckily there was an area outside that would accommodate all the tour. This caused the local innkeeper a headache as we had all intended to eat here and he only served food inside. However, one look at the menagerie of shirt wear and it was agreed that we could indeed be served outside. To be fair the food was really quite good and a hearty meal was enjoyed by everyone. The locals had wondered whether they had been invaded by a bunch of people who had gotten dressed in the dark, having seen the shirts. the stunned looks were amusing to the whole tour group.
Jack was on fines today.
Meal finished we returned to the hotel and many of the tour decided to visit the watering hole of the first night to finish the night off. What did we discover? Dumber knew that Scarfell Pike was the highest point in England and believed was the hill behind the ground played at today. Also that the big satellite dish was used in the Star Wars films. Unfortunately, Scarfell Pike is in the lake district and Star Wars was filmed at Shepperton near London. We were in Shropshire.
Tomorrow’s skipper would be beefy.
A 10.30 Departure time was made to get to today’s game. Beefy had been formulating his skippers plan for the day ahead overnight with various scenarios and batting line-ups. This would be thrown away as the had been shortened to 30 overs a side. Plans out the window. All the best laid plans and all that eh Beefy.
Today’s venue was a mere 20 mins Thumb time. A 45 min journey later and we would arrive at the ground. Now the forecast for the day was fine till about 3pm then thunderstorms for the rest of the day. What would transpire would put you off listening to the met office forever. A nice start would see the game almost finished when the thunderstorms came. Well I say thunderstorms, it rained for 5 mins and if you were fast enough you could run about and avoid the drops. After the sprinkling of precipitation, came what can only be described as a solar flare. The heat from the yellow thing in the sky was akin to being in the Sahara. Obviously the yellow waring for thunder actually meant yellow sun.
Having arrived at the ground we were met with homemade sausage rolls. This was the forerunner to what can only be described as the best food on tour.
ADCC were to field first. “FLY” and “SUPERFLY” would today be one whistle for FLY and two whistles for SUPERFLY.
Dumb was to play the foil to an “Ant & Dec” type game where he would have to do whatever was said to him by way of walkie talkie. Once he had to walk around the outfield and pick up all the loose grass and ignore the game. The look from the skipper was one of astonishment. Then when running after the ball he had to kick it into the boundary. Beefy would now have a look of thunder and stood shaking his head. When a wicket fell Dumb would run up to all the players and throw all the cut grass he had collected over them all.
Beefy, being ultra-competitive does not like getting out and knowing this Jack would whistle for “FLY” while Beefy was walking back to the pavilion knowing that Beefy would ignore it. All the players bar Beefy did the FLY. Jack then blew the whistle right into Beefy’s face, but not a chance Beefy was going to FLY. Inadvertently Jack had now blown twice signalling the first SUPERFLY of the tour. This nearly caught everyone by surprise. Still no movement toward FLY by Beefy.
Between innings can only be described as a cricket tea banquet. So good in fact it earned the performance of the day award for the ladies who had made it. The tour party were still talking about it that evening. Jack decided to do his own version of FLY while breaking a bench even knowing that the bench was already broken as the leg was on top of the seat and not under were you would expect it. Monty had to don a star outfit as a forfeit for not singing on tour. Standing up was to have the whole tour in hysterics.
The last night of the tour concluded with a meal at a pub beside the River Severn a short 5 min Thumb time walk. 20 mins later we all sat down and were expecting a menu to savour as this place had been recommended by Thumb and the tea ladies of the day. There were 3 fish choices or chicken wings and a pork pie dish for starters. Fish main s or a choice of 3 types of burgers. Now Chief being a posh man about town who knows about restaurant etiquette should know about the two fish rule. Where if you have fish for starter you tend not to have fish for main. He set a bad example which Beefy decided he would also do. Poor show fellas.
After the meal most of the tour walked back to the now regular watering hole for further liquid refreshment or to top up existing levels of alcohol. Foxy, Cowshot, Smiffy, Beefy and Tex would get a cab back to the hotel. Now to say these guys are on the large size would be an understatement. A seven seater arrived and Tex being the smallest, he had not had that said about him for a long time, had to get in the very back. Once loaded the combined weight of the five guys was more than the car weighted. (slight exaggeration) Smiffy decided to tell the driver that we were a touring “tug of war” team and we had just won the British Championships and were now going onto the worlds, but were concerned about the Samoans. The driver did not crack even a smile. Getting out of the car made the back rise as if on Hydraulics.
Tomorrow’s leave for home would be 9am
Breakfast had, those who had cars left early for home. The two buses left around 9am. The journey home was very uneventful which was just as well as Cowshot was getting his revenge on Chief by snoring whilst having power naps. News about a 6-year-old killed on the side of the M6 reminded us of the peril the M6 Duo had endured and how you should be very careful and take precautions when breaking down on motorways. All back to the brow at 1pm. What a difference from the journey out.
A great tour, enjoyed by all,
Here’s to the next one.