Celtic Illumination, part 221, Even the cake was in tiers.
Despite the fact that I was an international criminal and probably quite high on Interpol’s most wanted list, I managed to cover the three hundred and thirty miles between Ipswich and Tenby without incident. I even slipped through the Welsh border control without having my car searched and the modern electronic gadgets removed as the Welsh still regarded them as evil. Anyone with a digital watch was considered as being a practitioner of black magic. We were all meeting in a pub in the centre of Tenby and would then descend en masse on Tim’s father’s farm. Had such a group of people met on exercise, or in altered circumstances, there may have been a different atmosphere, but we all got on so well together it was fantastic. As we were having a party we had of course brought fireworks. The local Welsh population were probably unsettled with so many bloody foreigners in their midst for why else would they call the police.
We were simply having fun and letting off a few fireworks as we were all in a party mood. Perhaps because we were using military grade fireworks, which are a little louder than your standard squib, which not only gave you the required flash, bang, wallop, you expected from fireworks, but they rattled most of the windows in a one hundred yards radius too. Luckily for us many people who leave the armed forces join the civilian police force. Most civilians may have seen a group of drunken louts, but the head copper, the head ex forces copper, saw a group of eighteen or twenty nut cases who could have successfully invaded Argentina over a bank holiday weekend and still have time for a party, he simply asked us to withdraw to a place of safety.
Well; that’s not what he said, although I’m sure it’s what he meant. In fact he said something along the lines of, “Get out of my town and don’t not never come back.” Terrible grammar these soldiers, ex or not. It’s bad enough being an international criminal but being asked to leave small Welsh walled seaside town is humiliating to say the least. Well, it may have been humiliating if we actually cared. It was dark when we arrived at Tim’s father’s farm. We couldn’t have got a warmer welcome and we were all invited in and the party really began in earnest. At one point it was realised that the high rate of consumption of booze was diminishing the remaining alcohol stocks so two fellows were dispatched to Tenby to buy more booze. I can remember that one of the guys was Peter Browne; I can’t remember who the other fellow was.
Most of us could drink our own body weight in alcohol and would probably attempt to do so a couple of times over the weekend but Peter was referred to, by us, as a ‘lightweight’ when it came to the demon drink That is not to say the fellow was an angel, if you remember this was the fellow who got me in so much trouble at Watton when he forced me, at gun and knife point, to steal all the knickers, and one suspender belt, from the WRAF block at Swanton Morley. This was the same Peter Browne who had got me into a fight with thirty angry locals in the Trearddur Bay hotel in North Welsh Wales. This was no angel, which is probably why we decided to surprise him when he returned.
It would be safe to say that we were all quite drunk; even Tim’s father was joining in with the craic. We saw the taxi turn into the lane and drive towards the farm house. As it stopped and Peter and the other fellow, it could have been Martyn Strachan, I’m not sure, but as they began to alight the attack began. The commandos had brought some excellent thunder flashes which I had never seen before. These were multiple thunder flashes, like the old German stick grenade and probably more effective. There would be half a dozen thunder flashes on one stick which you could lob toward your enemy. To tell you the truth I don’t think the local Welsh taxi driver had seen them either, and I think he was in a state of shock as he found himself in the centre of his very own Hadron Collider. I think it would be safe to say that he probably went straight home and changed his trousers after that.
With fresh supplies of booze secured a ceasefire was called and we all returned inside and focused on the serious business of getting hammered. Tim’s parents were wonderful hosts and Tim’s father was a real laugh. He was the focus of the party and we caroused ourselves into a stupor before we all got into one bed and passed out. I actually woke up in a bed next to Peter Browne so the first thing I did was check that I had both sets of eyebrows. I suppose in the forces you were used to sleeping with men, there was nothing funny or strange about it. Peter assured me the following morning that he wasn’t homosexual. Well; what he said was, I’m not gay but I think my boyfriend might be.
We all dressed up in our finery and had a liquid breakfast which we held in place with a tray full of bacon butties. You can see how spectacular we were with the photograph that accompanies this blog. I know we probably look like something along the lines of Reservoir Dogs and such an inference would be spot on. The good looking fellow, I know we all were, but the good looking fellow in the centre with the gay moustache is John Clancey. The now head of security at the Manx international airport on the Isle of Man. This is perhaps one of the most evil men on the face of the earth. John and I used to go around telling people that we were twins, separated at birth. John had a strong London accent, in fact when John starts speaking you immediately begin looking around for his pearly suit; I of course spoke with dulcet Irish undertones. I’m taking the photograph, but you can get an impression of what I looked like, as I looked like John, except I was much more handsome and still had the best looking legs in Ireland. And even though I had slept with a man the previous night I still didn’t sport a gay moustache.
Behind us you can see the navy and marines in their best uniforms. This is as we arrived at the church, but don’t think we left the farmhouse and drove straight to the church. Someone thought it would be a good idea if we went for a few scoops in a local pub before the service. For sensible people this may have been a good idea but for a group like us it would only mean that the high jinks would start early. And begin early they did. Most of us were quite good at mental arithmetic when it came to drinking. I of course am a bit of a nerd when it comes to mathematics as I love quadratic equations and the like. But that day there was someone there who was even more into mathematics than I was.
You know how it works; you walk in to a pub, it’s seven minutes past eleven o clock in the morning. The church is twenty three minutes away and you have to be there at five minutes to one. You can comfortably drink one pint of beer in sixteen minutes, while still participating in an interesting conversation, how many pints can you have before you leave for the church? And you thought heavy drinking was for mindless louts. Well; put your calculator down, the answer is five pints of beer and one large vodka, with no ice and that’s as long as you don’t have any crisps. It was when we fell out of the pub and got in to our cars and headed off for the church that I realised there was a genius amongst us, for someone had bought a bottle of whiskey. Even I still cringe at what happened next, for as we sped off toward the church, the bottle of whiskey was passed from car to car as we hammered along the narrow Welsh country lanes. I suppose that song ‘Get me to the church on time,’ would have been most appropriate for the occasion but none of us were sober enough to stand never mind sing.