Date: Thu, 23 Sep 1999 15:41:08 +0000
From: Tom Fawdry 
Subject: eDuBs: *Stop Press*  Venlo report  *Stop Press*  (not that you care)

Venlo, Venlo, Venlo..............Well what can I say?  Where do I start?

I know you're all probably waiting for some kind of weekend report
(not), so here goes.

We finally got organised enough to leave late Thursday evening and our
plans for driving in daylight were soon forgotten.  We were leaving
London that evening but our boat wasn't until the next morning from
Harwich so we were going to my mate Bens house to stay the night in
Billericay and then leave from there in the morning. Before we'd even
got that far we had our first hitch, Damons charging light had come on
on his dash and was staying on, no visible signs of any wires off or
anything else amiss so we continued with a plan of robbing the regulator
off Ben's van and swapping it for the weekend.

We were woken up the next morning by Ben's house mate coming home after
working a night shift, Ben had forgotten to tell him to expect three
bodies on their living room floor.

O.K. up, washed, dressed and out the door nice and early, tried the
regulator swapping exercise, bollocks, must be the dynamo, we decided to
leave and swap batteries for the journey, sort it out when we get there,
I'm so glad I had fitted an alternator before we left as now I was
charging for two.

The journey to Harwich was a trauma in itself through no fault of my own
(shut it Damon!), as we were leading we somehow managed to miss the turn
off to the port, oh that's O.K. just turn around at the next junction
and head back to the exit, or at least it would be O.K. if we hadn't of
missed it by 20 miles or so.  What started out to be an exercise planned
with military precision (yeah right) was slowly turning into a bit of a
shambles, still, we made the boat with about 5 minutes to spare.

To anyone that hasn't got the boat from Harwich to Hoek of Holland
before, it's an absolute pleasure, there's loads of space to walk
around, a cinema, couple of bars, casino, McDonalds, coffee shop,
restaurant, pizza place, nightclub type of thing and arcades, so, loads
to do, which leads to making the three and a half hour journey quite a
painless one.

After we'd arrived we found the first car park and did the first battery
swap, oh, we also met our first Dutchie too who tried convincing us what
a lovely country we live in and how we should never change our cottages
or the way we make tea?!?!?!?  (tea bag, hot water, milk and sugar to
taste, huh?!?)

The Drive to Venlo was pretty uneventful, a couple of battery stops, bit
of traffic and we were there, its just so easy to drive in Holland, so
flat, mmmmm. I got quite excited when I thought there was actually a
hill coming up and then realised it was actually just a bridge over
another road, a pleasure in a van.

We found the site with ease and soon found the Wacky Racers Pitch, our
home for the weekend.

Right, open a beer, skin up and relax.

A good evening had by all, needless to say we didn't avoid getting into
a spot of bother, but hey after embarrassing two young ladies in the
chip shop, being escorted by a marshall on a moped out of family
camping, and being threatened by some scabby German geezer to turn the
tunes down, we all crashed out ready for the next day of our euro

Saturday morning was yet another glorious day, clear blue skies and hot
summer sun, (did I mention the weather was great all weekend), slalom
racing, sprint strip, food stalls, great swapmeet, tradestands, bar,
supermarket, adventure playground, schwimwagon and lake, sunshine, some
interesting cars and vans, mental offroading course and loads more, I do
believe they had thought of everything.

Saturday afternoon I decided to Join Chewey on a mission to town to see
what we could find (know what I mean, nudge, nudge, wink, wink), I'm
glad we went in his ambulance and not my van as I think because of what
it was, helped us avoid the police giving us a parking ticket, even
though we had left it for a good twenty minutes outside a bong shop, on
the pavement with Cyprus Hill playing, not the most subtle of cover-ups,
but hey we managed to get away with it.

Went back to site and watched the atmosphere drop to a level plane until
my eyes had trouble focusing, right, time to go to the bar then. Met
some of the others at the bar where we manage to catch two fish, ok so
they were goldfish, they were in a pond in the entrance to the bar but
it's not as easy as it sounds, take it from me.

Back to camp to obliterate the Vodka, curled up in my van under a starry
sky with the sunroof wide open, heaven. A very spinny weird heaven.

Sunday was another chilled one with more racing, food, slalom, and
sunshine etc. before we finally left at around six o'clock all set for a
battery swapping journey home, a fairly uneventful journey, except for
the exploding lighter scenario, the porn scenario, the McDonalds
scenario, the following a nutter in a primer grey splitty, determined to
lull me into a false sense of security before slamming the anchors on
before a death defying maneuver, oh and the bloke who came up to us in
the car park at Hoek, where we stayed the night before we got the ferry
at 7.30 the next morning, saying  "your van its wery Koooooooeeeeelllll
yah, I have a van's a Bedford with
special lacquer"

To which we all replied "mmmmmm, nice"


PS: apologies to anyone I may have offended during the weekend