In my previous rambles I have tried to avoid any reference that I was anything but the innocent party to any tales of misdeed and mishap during my youthful days as a greasy biker. This may have been an example of looking through rose coloured glasses, so I have decided to clear my conscience to a degree and come clean about the two times I visited Butlin’s, one legitimately, the other not so much. With the delicate nature of the readers of Norky’s Ramblings in mind neither of the stories will include naked mass debauchery or frolicking in the sand dunes.
A first holiday without parents
The legitimate visit was to Skegness, Lincolnshire in 1964. It was my first holiday away from home without my parents. Even though my two mates Melv and Dave were also bikers, they chose to travel by bus for reasons that I can’t remember. I think it was something to do with the mother of one not wanting her precious son travelling all that way on his bike, whereas I had convinced myself that if I took my big nasty bike, I would be beating the young maidens off with a stick.
Coincidentally my cousin Rod had planned to meet his then girlfriend, now wife of many years in Skeggy during the Huddersfield holiday fotnit, and as Rod was fairly familiar with the route, arrangements were made for him to ride pillion.
Travelling to Butlin’s by bike – just the one brush with death
It was a recent conversation with Rod that reminded me of this journey and the following week. Rod was telling someone that this journey frightened the daylights out of him. I couldn’t understand why; there was only one brush with death during the whole ride.
There were no motorways in that direction, so in those days we had to find our way to Sheffield then turn left and eventually pick up the A158 to Sceggy; in fact it’s pretty much the same now. The incident in question happened on a section of dual carriageway somewhere near Lincoln. We had hit upon a Rolls Royce with a couple of friendly young ladies on the back seat. They smiled as we came alongside, and we gave a wave. They began to respond in kind, which confirmed my suspicions that big nasty bikes were magnets even to young ladies in the back of a Rolls Royce.
The grumpy, miserable old fart behind the wheel, who we took as their father, decided that he had had enough and decided to run us off the road. We were pushed on to the opposite grass verge, which had the effect of forcing Rod’s foot under the footpeg and slowing our progress a little. No harm done and we managed to catch and pass the Rolls which resulted in another wave from the ladies who must have been relieved that we were unharmed. We managed a special wave of our own to dad.
A lads’ holiday at Butlin’s: mischief and romance
Me, Dave and Melv had a great time. It was an ideal situation for lads and lasses to get into all sorts of mischief. Even though Dave was trying to look manly and give the impression of a heavy drinker, he would actually get drunk at the sniff of a barmaid’s apron, so forcing down almost two pints of beer each night took its toll. On one evening he was throwing up in the waste bin right alongside the hot dog stall. On another night he tripped in his drunken stupor while entering our chalet and head butted the basin on the opposite wall. There was an almighty clunk and I was surprised that both survived the ordeal, Dave apparently never felt a thing.
I eventually found a young lady willing to say hello and we immediately hit it off. One of the reasons we got on was that coincidentally she was also from Huddersfield and we could understand each other’s accent, which I have to say wasn’t so easy with everybody. For some reason Skeggy attracted a lot of young’uns from London, at least they did that week – they must have been fumigating London that week. Anyway, we stayed together the whole week and to her credit she was always willing to pay for her round, a fine Yorkshire lass. I promised to seek her out on my return home but never did. Where would we be if only we had made that little move in another direction? I certainly couldn’t have been any happier than with the direction I did go in.
I seem to have drunk a pint and a bit already, Dave must have thought posing with a pint in his face was a good photographic pose while he is desperately trying to catch up and Melv hasn’t even started yet. A suit and tie was normal dress for lads around town in those days.
Banter with the London lads: trifles at the ready
During the whole week there was light-hearted banter between the lads from London and us from Yorkshire. Often during mealtimes or in the pubs and clubs around the site, a chant would go up of “London, London, London”, quickly followed by “Yorkshire, Yorkshire, Yorkshire”. it all came to a head during the last evening meal before our departure the following morning. We were all given a horrible, solid trifle in a waxed paper tub. Nobody liked them, and when the first shout of “Yorkshire” was heard, a trifle was thrown in that direction, which was then returned with interest, until every table, chair, floor and person was covered.
This banter carried on when we returned to our chalets to prepare for our evening in the clubs, only this time it was water. We filled waste bins, balloons (I think they were balloons) and anything that would hold water, and threw or poured it at anyone close enough. We were receiving every bit as good as we gave. When everything calmed down our chalet was ankle deep in water.
A price to pay but all chip in
As we were getting ready for the evening festivities, there was a knock at the door it was Herr Flick from the camp security, who said, “Zis activity ist verboten, you vil av to pay vor za cleanink”. The fine didn’t leave us with enough to get even Dave pissed. But, luckily, our chalet was the only one to get such a visit, and therefore all the other lads and lasses felt that they had to chip in a few pence each. At the end we had actually made a small profit. I never found out how or why our chalet was singled out. There was no permanent harm done and we had a great time.
Butlin’s was an ideal place for a first real adventure for the young, or so I thought. Our next adventure was a little less wholesome and innocent.