As a group, I like to think we’re different from your typical “lads”. Conversations about the opposite sex tend towards relationship advice, and jokes are rarely taken too far. And despite being from Essex, our tans are natural, and our shorts are always kept rolled to a respectable length (admittedly, certain individuals do get their hair cut more often than necessary: the fade game is strong). We’re not even that good at Fifa.
Consequently, for our “lad’s holiday” this year, rather than Magaluf, we went for a drive in Europe. Starting from our hometown in the less shit part of Essex, we drove to Amsterdam. There were twelve of us in three cars. And as a driver, I was content with my team: I had our predrink’s DJ on the aux, a navigator with an excuse for everything, and a guy who makes anything funny. Although slightly delayed by my navigator’s need to cut holes in his ham so they fit his bagel better, we left at 5.15am, due in Dover for 7.15am.
Ahead of schedule, I stopped at a service station and then missed the ferry. It was all very stressful, notwithstanding the fact that I knew all three of my passengers wanted to say ‘this is your fault, you shouldn’t have stopped at the services’. Thankfully, they didn’t. Nonetheless, the wait went from bad to worse when an aggressive sneeze turned into a full-blown nosebleed coming up to French passport control. It was an interesting two minutes spent attempting to pull a face that acknowledged that I was aware of the situation, expressed that it was not a regular occurrence, and tried to act as if nothing was amiss all at once – Oscars eat your heart out.
Despite receiving supposedly hilarious pictures from our friends who made it onto the ferry, the journey passed smoothly from then on. A detour into a French village in search of petrol resulted in an unwelcome purchase of an unnecessary number of mars bars which saw 12 of us through the whole trip. French, Belgian and Dutch roads were smooth and clear, although I’m not too sure whether the Belgians differentiate between hijacking and tailgating. It’s alright though, I didn’t want to see out of my rear-view mirror anyway.
Amsterdam however, was a travesty. I assume none of you have ever been stupid enough to drive to Amsterdam, but I’ll tell you now, since you were committed enough to read this far: don’t. No one knows who has right of way here. I drove on a cycle path, a tramway, a footpath, oh and a road. I was overtaken, undertaken, taken for invisible and taken for an idiot by cyclists with a death wish. From the people who had the atrocious idea of skipping with two ropes comes the world’s most horrendous road network. However, finally parked, after 12 hours of travelling and 12 near death experiences, the 12 of us were ready to start our holiday.
To be continued…