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Hasn't been proof-read yet. I'm sorry for any mistakes.
After finding the leaks in my drysuit on Tuesday evening, fixing them on Wednesday evening, and loading up the car with Sarah on Wednesday evening, I was ready to leave straight from work on Thursday. I'd managed to get lots of things finished, so got to leave at about 13:30. My boss kindly said that he would "hold the fort". After about 5 minutes, I realised that I'd left the directions to find Rodney's work on my desk, so turned around, and went back to collect them. As I arrived at work, my boss was packing up for the day. So much for "holding the fort"! I collect the directions, and popped into Slough Scuba to sort out a few things (including finding out prices of new suits).
I got caught in really bad traffic coming into Henley on Thames. Unfortunately, without either a map, or SatNav, I had to just sit in the traffic, and hope for the best. After what seemed like hours, but was probably only about 20 minutes, things were moving again. It took me a while to find Rodney's work, but I got there eventually. He hadn't managed to leave as early as he wanted to, so it didn't actually matter that I was late. He had arranged with the courier to collect his drysuit boots from its Reading offices, so we had to drive from Rodney's work to the centre of Reading. Rodney's AA route took us along roads so narrow, that they were even narrower than the short-cuts that Scary and Dindin have made me drive along. I waited for him at the station, while he went to the courier's offices. It gave me a chance for a quick kip, but Rodney came back empty-handed. The gimmers had sent them back to the shop!
The traffic on the M4 wasn't too bad, and we arrived in Bath in good time. Rodney called Sam on the way into Bath, and asked her to put the kettle on, and wear some sexy lingerie. We arrived to find that not only had she not put any sexy lingerie on, but that she wasn't even wearing a low-cut top. Still, she had put the kettle on. We tried to persuade her to come diving, but didn't manage it. Rodney's dive-kit was in Scary's gaff, but Rob wasn't in Bath. We hoped that the new totty housemate (who remembers TottyCam from a Pharmacy Ball) would let us in, but she wasn't there. Using his charm, Rodney rang another bell, and said, "I used to live
hearhere. Could you let me in?". The door unlocked! We picked up all Rodney's dive-kit, and his old stereo, which he was selling to a "dude in Penzance". As we were walking out, I saw my old SMB reel lying on the floor. Scary had obviously tried to "borrow" it, and my name was very faint on the reel! He is such a dodgy old guvna. After collecting a sleeping bag, and pillows, from Sam, we headed off across country to the M5.
We were also very lucky with the traffic on the journey from Bath to Plymouth, although I did feel the need to whinge lots about Rodney "letting the cat out of the bag" about our sneaky pre-Easter dives. It was going to be a nice day - Rodney, Gordy, Emma, and me, diving with Danny and Dave. Unfortunately, Rodney had told Max and Olly what we were doing, and Max had decided to take all the new divers to Bovisand on the way down to Penzance. I'm going to have to teach Rodney what "sneaky" means. During our journey down, Rodney asked me whether I'd received the multimedia message that Olly sent me after our first Weymouth trip. Not having Olly's number, I didn't know who it was from, and reported it to the police! Fortunately, the bloke at the station didn't seem that interested! Risking somebody getting a bend, we didn't change drivers at Collumpton, because Rodney wasn't insured to drive the car.
Anyway, we arrived in Plymouth in good time, and I then asked Rodney to direct me to Mel and James's house. Unfortunately, the RAC directions were pants, but James directed us there in the end. When we got there, I was busting for a jimmy, so popped upstairs. By the time I got back downstairs, I saw Emma playing with the two new dogs, and they'd all agreed to a take-away curry, instead of eating out. Although I fancied eating out, it was 10PM, so a take-away seemed like a good idea. It was a nice evening, and we met one of James's old mates. Unfortunately, Mel was in Canada. I can't remember much about the evening, but there was a program about the top ten Only Fools and Horses sketches - unsurprisingly, the number 1 was the one where Del leans on the bar in a wine bar. It's difficult to choose - my personal favourites are the one where they're fixing a chandelier, Trigger's comment about Del Boy's future baby - "If it's a boy, they're going to call it Rodney, after Dave", or Trigger's conversation about his broom.
At 06:30, Rodney's alarm went off, and woke us all up. Knowing my alarm doesn't go off at weekends, I knew it was Rodney's. I gave him jip, before I realised that it was my alarm, because it was a Friday. Ooops!
James had told me where everything was for breakfast, but it took me ages to figure out how to turn on the kettle (actually, to be honest, I had to ask Emma when she woke up). Anyway, thanks to James for putting us all up, it's just a pity that he couldn't join us. I didn't really know the way, so Rodney and I had to follow Gordy and Emma. After stopping half-way to have an argument, and swap drivers, Gordy and Emma got us to Bovi. The problem with following Gordy and Emma is that I can't annoy Gordy by driving really slowly down the approach road.
The rest of the club hadn't arrived yet, and we had time for a quick cuppa before diving. There wasn't a room open, so we had to use the main toilets. Unfortunately, there was no light in the sit-down toilet, so I had to have a dump with the door open. I pity the two blokes who walked in, and saw me sitting down with my pants around my ankles! If only I could whistle.
Our first dive was on the Persier, which never fails to disappoint. There were plenty of sea cucumbers, but Rodney and I were fairly well behaved. We had a fight with something that we found down there, but I can't remember what it was. Back at shore, we had time for several cups of tea, burgers, and chips. Rodney tarted around with his backplate, while I perved at totty. The others arrived, but we kept our distance, not wanting to interfere.
Our second dive was on the Scylla. Rodney obviously hadn't done a brilliant job with his backplate, because he felt uncomfortable for the whole dive. Still, at least we lasted 26 minutes, before I decided that he'd had enough. He put up the SMB, but it didn't get very far, because we were still partially underneath the wreck!
Back on dry land, we paid our bills, and headed off to Penzance. We stopped at Morrisons to buy fuel, and a map. I knew where we were going, but thought that a map of Devon and Cornwall would be a good investment. The traffic snarled up a bit through the roadworks, but we got there quickly enough. As we were getting close to Penzance, Rodney said something about Hayle. This was lucky, because I had forgotten where we were going, and would have just driven straight to Plymouth! We were supposed to be sharing a caravan with Nick, Max, Lucy, and Trevor, but the plans had changed, and we were sharing with Emily, Zoe, Olly, and Joel. Emma met us at reception, and told us that, despite arguing lots, they'd been unable to get 4 caravans together. We followed Emma to our caravan, and started unloading things.
Emily had told us what we needed to start cooking, so we started sorting things out. Emily called after a while, to ask for directions to the caravan. I told her, "You drive in through the gates, then see Emma, and then follow her to the caravan.". Fortunately, she saw the funny side of my directions! As the girls arrived, Zoe put her bags down in the living room, and her vibrator started vibrating. She got out her toothbrush, and turned it off, but Rodney and I knew better! Just in case people were tempted to turn the TV on, I put my red crate in front of the TV.
After dinner, we were sitting down, supping beers, and Gordy turned up. He wanted to know when we were going to the Haven Bar. That was a turn-up for the books - Gordy having to come along to drag us to the pub. We didn't take much persuasion! The place was as dire as every other year, but it served beer, so it seemed OK. The grabby cuddly toy machine didn't even have cuddly toys in it - it had furry dice. I couldn't resist wasting 50p to get one. A bit of '70s music came on, and I managed to persuade Rodney to get up and boogie. Gordy, on the other hand, saw sense, and stayed sitting down. A bloke on the table next to us with a really small head started talking to us. He seemed very interested that we were on an all-bloke holiday, and asked where we were from. "Aberdeen", I told him. He looked confused, so I told him, "It's the capital of the United Arab Emirates". He said, "Oh yes. I know". Good on you, SmallHeadMan!
We woke up in good time to have breakfast, have a few cups of tea, and make sandwiches. Things were looking good so far. We were diving from Penzance Harbour, so off we went. Being the only person insured on the car meant that I'd have to reverse the car out again, so I didn't drive too far towards the end. It was a lovely sunny day, with blue skies, and flat calm seas. Were we really in England at Easter, or had we gone abroad without realising it?
My first dive was a totty dive (Billy's got a totty dive, do-dah, do-dah. Billy's got a totty dive, do-de-do-dah-day). Hopefully this was a sign of things to come. We got out to the wreck, and I kitted up as if I'd been diving for years. Just as we were about to go in, the other boat came over, and Nic asked whether he could borrow my spare mask. Although I didn't want to dive without a spare mask, I couldn't really say "no", so handed it over. We swam over most of the wreck, and, since I'd only just met Charlottte, I was very well behaved. On our way back up the shot (I had to make sure that I found the shot, because I don't think Charlotte had an SMB), we past Rodney and his buddy. Rodney started signalling to me, but I couldn't understand what he was saying, so we continued our ascent. It turned out that Rodney and Jack were beyond their dive time, and Rodney wanted me to tell the other boat.
With the flat calm sea, it didn't take us long to get back to the harbour, leaving us time for tea and chips (and for me to reclaim my mask from Nick). It didn't seem that long before we were loading up the boats again, ready for the third wave of the day. Unfortunately, I wasn't going to get another totty dive today, because I was diving as a three with Rodney and Jack. Back out at the dive site, Nick had to borrow my mask again (I'm beginning to see a pattern here!). We didn't have a clue where we were going, but we found a small wreck eventually. After a while, I began to feel a bit uneasy. I said to Rodney that I would go up, and leave them to it. He sensibly said that we'd all go up. I put up my SMB, but, feeling sorry for me, Rodney also put his up. Jack didn't want to feel left out, so put his up as well.
If I remember correctly, I think Emma and I coxed the last wave. Frazer and Justin had a bit of a fast ascent, so, when we got back to shore, I told them not to carry any kit up the stairs. Unfortunately, that meant that I ended up carrying both sets of kit myself. Oh well, it's a good job I'm fitter than I was last year.
Rodney and I were back at the caravan first again, but were given cooking instructions by Zoe. We were doing well at cooking, but weren't trusted to think for ourselves though! The bathroom floor was becoming quite wet and slippery - where's Max's towel when it's needed!
Gordy came over again, and dragged us over to the Haven bar. Olly joined us this time, and all 4 of us carried on whinging about the type of people who will spend a week's holiday in a place like this! The evening's entertainment wasn't too bad - I love Abba music, but the tribute band didn't really do it justice. Rodney, Olly, and Gordy all said that they weren't going to boogie, but I worked on Olly a bit, and got him up eventually (ooh-err). There was even a bit of Way-Baby action.
The plan for today was similar to yesterday's plan. Tea, bacon, tea, sandwiches, dive from Penzance harbour, back to Haven, cook, eat, drink beer, go to the Haven Bar, and complain about the working classes. Before leaving, I opened my Easter present from Bird, which was what is supposed to be the best sun-block in the world.
My first dive was with Jack. I really shouldn't have done a 38m dive with somebody that I'd only just met, but it seemed like a good idea at the time. We spent quite a bit of time playing with a dogfish before sending up the SMBs. After being told of yesterday, Jack didn't want to stay down too long today, so we put the SMBs up in good time. About half-way up, they got tangled in each other, so Jack did some acrobatics to untangle them - rather him than me!
While we were carrying the kit off the boats, I felt a tinge in my left arm. I didn't think it was anything to worry about, but mentioned it to Trevor, who was going to be coxing the boat when I was due to dive next. There was quite a bit of time between dives (thanks to Bird for her sun block!), and I remember spending some time chatting to Nick and dive kit, and trimix. We had different opinions on the need to use helium for suit inflation though. Chatting to Trevor, he used bad English. I, obviously, felt the need to correct him, and then realised that I'd found a kindred spirit! He even complained about signs in supermarkets that incorrectly say, "10 items or less". Top man!
I didn't feel any more twinges, so did the second dive. This was with Jason, so my totty diving wasn't going very well. Maybe I should have helped more at Plymouth. Oh well, never mind! We got back to shore quickly, but when the other boat got back, we found out that Rodney had stayed down far too long looking for the shot (he ended up doing 25 minutes' decompression on Olly's first decompression dive), and then got dragged up twice by his SMB, giving him a bit of a fast ascent. Sensibly, he asked to breath oxygen on the journey back. Having been there twice before, I said I'd keep an eye on him. While I was loading my dive-kit into the car, I noticed that my torch must have been knocked, and turned itself on, because it had melted the lens. On the journey back to Haven, Rodney said he didn't feel right. We made sure that we had an oxygen cylinder in the caravan, just in case he had any problems later.
After another good meal, I started persuading Rodney to come over to the Haven place. Gordy and Emma had gone home (almost taking our totty passenger with them!), so Gordy wasn't here to drag us over. After a while, I gave up. A few minutes later, Charlotte and Mandy knocked on the door, and asked whether we were going to the Haven Place. "We are now", I answered immediately, "Come on Rodders". Rodney soon jumped up, and put his trousers on. My lips were feeling really dry, and I didn't have any lip-balm, so I just licked my lips to wet them a bit. Unfortunately, until Olly told me off, I didn't realise that I was standing right in front of Mandy when I did it! Oooops!
Charlotte seemed quite into '70s music, but she wasn't as easy to persuade as Olly, so we didn't end up dancing. Rodney seemed OK as we knocked back a couple of beers before calling it a night.
The others had to get up early, because they were diving. I didn't realise quite how much noise they could make, but Rodney and I stayed in bed until they'd gone. We had to clear the caravan, move everyone else's stuff into another caravan, collect Adam, Mandy, and Justin from the other caravan, hand in the keys to the caravan that we'd been staying in, then drop Jason off at the station, and then go to where the others were diving. This all went well, until we tried to fit all 5 of us, and all the kit, into the car. It's a good job that we left all the cylinders with the others, because there was very little spare room in the car. We waived goodbye to SmallHeadMan, and dropped Jason off at the station.
With more room in the car, we went over to where the others were diving from. It was quite windy, and the sea was much choppier than it had been before. We considered hiring some windbreaks, and some deckchairs, but didn't think that the others would appreciate it. Rodney bought Zoe and Emily some hot chocolate (he's a nice lad), and we spent ages trying to undo Trevor's drysuit zip. We gave up in the end, and started our journey back home. I could see Rodney and Adam, but couldn't find Mandy. "Car Totty", I shouted. She didn't reply. "Mandy", Adam shouted, and she appeared. He'd obviously got his minions under control!
It was a very long journey back, but, fortunately, I'd added Adam onto the insurance for the day, so he could drive some of the way back. As expected, there was bad traffic through the roadworks, but it was OK apart from that. I was quite knackered by the time we got to the M5 (everybody else was asleep), so I woke up Adam, and we switched drivers. I got to sit in the back seat with Mandy for the rest of the way, and Rodney continued to sleep in the front. We dropped Mandy off at her parents' place near Bristol, and then Adam drove to his house in Bath.
Scary's new totty lodger still wasn't there, so we just dropped off Rodney's dive kit without getting to perve again. Doctor Professor American Steve was in town, so I drove Rodney, Dindin, Sam, and Mark over to Bradford-on-Avon for beer and curry. On the way there, Mark said, "You can get up to 60 along here". I did get up to 60mph, before I realised that, although it's easy to get up to 60mph, it was actually a 40mph limit. Mark hadn't told me that!
It was nice to see the Prof again, but, controversially, they had booked a table in a pub, instead of the curry house. Oh well, at least there was a totty barmaid. The food was good, and we sank a fair few beers. Towards the end of the evening, Rodney left to catch the last train back to Reading (although the fool ended up on the wrong train!). A bit later, Mark asked Gordy and Emma how long it would take to get to the train station. They said about 5 minutes. I wasn't convinced, so, ignoring the fact that I'd only been to Bradford-on-Avon about 5 times, I told him that it was closer to 10 minutes, even if he ran without stopping to ask for directions. He started considering getting a taxi, because he didn't know the way. "Don't worry", I said, downing my pint, "I'll show you". We then ran all the way to the train station, and Mark only just made it onto the train. He was amazed that I'd managed to run all that way, and hold a conversation, without getting out of breath. I did walk back to the pub though.
Tom, Steve, and I were all staying at Gordy and Emma's house. The Prof had the spare room, so Tom had to put up with my snoring all night.
Because it hadn't been a bank holiday in Scotland yesterday, and most of our customers at work are Scottish, I knew today would be busy. I didn't spend too much time gimmering around drinking tea, and drove back along the M4 (stopping at Slough Scuba to buy a new lens for my torch).
[2009-10-12 - update]: I've found the YouTube clip for calling the baby Rodney after Dave. Also corrected spelling of here.
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Created on: 15 Apr 2007. Modified on: 22 May 2007.
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