give me the awe of understanding over the awe of ignorance every time - Douglas Adams

Pleasure Boat

We assembled in the youth centre car park. It was about 6PM on a summers evening, weather fine and warm. Chris and Karen, Russ, Rod, Jan, Julie, and about 6 six others turned up all keen to go and see Hawkwind at Friars Aylesbury. We entered the hand painted blue Austin J4 van which was covered in doodles and messages. Across the back door was scrawled Marrakesh Express, and this became the name by which this rust bucket was affectionately known. I climbed into the drivers seat, Chris and Karen squeezed into the front the other ten flowery dressed youths piled into the back. After a whip round were those who had some coin contributed and those that didn't looked a little embarrassed we went to the nearby filling station and loaded up with enough fuel to get us the 20 miles to Aylesbury and back. I drove, I wanted to, I was still just 16 years old and consequently too young to drive a van, but it didn't seem to matter. Nobody else wanted to drive and I loved it.

We left Bletchley and headed out, the van was a riot of laughter, this was just so much fun! We were just approaching Leighton Buzzard, the only town of note on the route, when amidst all the laughter and fun I glanced in the rear view mirror and saw the blue flashing light on the police car behind me. “Oh shit, the blue meanies!”

I eased over to the kerb and pulled up. Leapt from cab and marched back towards the cop car, meeting the advancing constable around the back of van. “Good evening officer, how can I help you.” “Hello, is this your vehicle, sir?” “Well sort of! Me and Chris and Grot brought it between us.”
“I see......And where are you going? By this time constable one was joined by constable two from the passenger seat. Constable two opens the back door of the van. A waft of smoke exhales from the back door. “B'jesus!” says constable two, and takes two steps back, admiring the tightly packed bodies resplendent in jeans and kaftans and Afghan coats.

Constable One says “right Sir, lets have a good look at this vehicle of yours, or whoever it is that owns it.” At which point he starts looking at the tread on the tyres, and asking me to turn on the lights so he can check they are working. At this point I am beginning to think our fun evening out may about to be cut short. Meanwhile from the squad car behind the radio squawks, and constable two attends.

Constable one reaches for his notebook and is making many notes accompanied but tsh tsh noises. Oh shit, I'm thinking.

Constable two suddenly reappears, “fire in Linslade Farm, need to go now!”
Constable one, “bugger”
Constable one produces a small pad and scribbles furiously, tears off the top copy and thrusts it into my hand. He then says “You are so fucking lucky” and retreats back to the car and drives off.

I look at the form. Its an HORT1 commonly known as a “producer.” It requires you to produce your insurance certificate, test certificate, driving license at a police station within five days. On this form are the details of the vehicle, registration number, location, time and at the bottom a box entitled “Use to which vehicle was being put.” Constables one had written “pleasure boat!” I have to admire a man with a sense of humour, no matter what uniform he wears!

We continue on our way. Groove out to Hawkwind for the evening, fall back into van and journey back to the Youth Centre car park without further incident.

Documents are produced, all lies of course, but the constabulary are appeased and we continue on our merry way!