by Robert Williams
"We're all going on a summer holiday!" sang Des one morning in the cafe.
"Des, please don't sing," sighed Mick. "It really isn't very tuneful."
"You'll probably get a top ten hit then," said Mrs Greasy.
"No, it's all garage music in the charts these days," said Clive.
"What's that?" said Des.
"Music you listen to in the garage?" said Mick.
"I don't listen to music in the garage, that's stupid!" said Des.
"No, no, I think garage music is stuff like Mike and the Mechanics, or The Cars," said Mrs Greasy.
"Let's ask Wayne," said Mick.
"Huh?" said Wayne, who was not really listening as he was busy trying to follow the complex storylines in the Disney comic.
"Look, enough of this," said Des. "As I was going to say, I've booked up our holidays for this year!"
"So where are we going?" groaned Clive, knowing what was coming next. "Don't tell me. Skegness? Grimsby? Eastbourne? Bognor?"
"No, no, no," said Des, who was responsible for this year's group holiday. "I thought, for a change, we should go somewhere much more exotic!"
"Oh great!" said Clive, perking up.
"Clacton!" said Des.
"Oh great," groaned Clive, un-perking up.
"No listen, this is going to be good! I've booked us all in at the Happy World Holiday Camp! Look at the brochure!" said Des.
The others perused the holiday brochure.
"It's an authentic genuine 60s holiday camp, just like in that hilarious comedy series, 'Dad's Army'."
"Don't you mean 'Hi-de-Hi'?" said Mick.
"Knowing Des, it probably will be more like 'Dad's Army'," sighed Clive.
"And even better, we'll go there on my bus!" said Des. "So it'll be just like that Cliff Richard film!"
"Is Cliff Richard comin' with us?!" said Wayne suddenly.
"Yes!" said Des.
"Oh good," said Wayne. "Who's he then?"
"Is Farmer Files coming?" said Mrs Greasy.
"I don't think so," said Des. "I haven't seem him around for the last three or four weeks!"
"That's right," said Clive, "his deputy has been standing in for him at The Laughing Pig."
"I've seen him sitting down as well," said Des.
A couple of Sundays later, the whole posse of Des, Mick, Wayne, Clive, Mrs Greasy, Dickie and Mike went up to Clacton in Des's bus singing 'Summer Holiday' for the entire journey.
As they turned into the holiday centre, they were annoyed to find they couldn't drive in, as the bus was too tall to drive under the large sign, which was shaped like a pig.
"Superb," said Des. "This bus won't fit under that pig. Pig??!!"
"We've got the wrong place," said Mick. "Look, it says 'Welcome to Happy Pig Holiday Camp'!"
"Of course!" said Des. "Hang on - no we haven't! Look at the brochure! We've followed the directions exactly!"
"And the picture in the brochure looks just the same as this place!" said Mick.
"So there's been a name change since the brochure was printed," said Des. "Doesn't matter, it's still the same place."
"But it's called 'Happy Pig Holiday Camp'," said Mick. "I'm worried..."
"Oh come on," said Des. "It's not as if Farmer Files could be running it..."
"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!!" exclaimed Farmer Files, coming up to the bus. "You all be welcome to 'Happy Pig Holiday Camp'! Oi hope you be enjoyin' your stay! Oh, it be you, Des and Mick!! This be a pleasant surprise!"
"Not for us..." said Mick, his heart having sunk as far as it would go.
"That's it! We're going straight home!" proclaimed Des.
"Oh no, Des," said Mick. "We've come all this way on this rickety old bus! We can't go home now!"
"Right, everybody off then!" said Des. The holidaymakers disembarked, and Des sought to find out just what was going on.
"Oooooh arrrrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "You all be welcome to 'Happy Pig Holiday...."
"Yes, yes, we've heard all that," said Des. "Now just what's happening round here! According to this brochure, this should be the 'Happy World Holiday Camp'! An authentic 60s holiday camp!"
"Oooooh arrrrrr!! And it be an authentic 60s holiday camp! There 'as just been a change in management!"
"You're running this place?!" said Des. "But three weeks ago you were running a pub!"
"And oi still am! But since takin' over this failin' holiday camp, oi've been concentratin' moi efforts on gettin' it shipshape! This be our first weekend of openin'! Don't worry, oi'll be back at the Laughing Pig soon!"
"Sorry for butting in," said Clive. "But I just have to ask one question. Why??!!"
"Oooooh arrrrrrrr!!!!" exclaimed Files. "Moi pub and brewery 'as been so popular that oi 'ave already taken over a chain of pubs across the country!"
"It's true," said Clive. "That pub has got a lot busier recently! They're saying that no pub in the country serves cider as delicious as Farmer Files's! People are actually willing to pay even Files's exorbitant prices to taste it!"
"Oi've been rakin' in the cash loike there be no tomorrow! That be why moi Pig Breweries 'as been such a success!"
"Yes, but why have you taken over a holiday camp?" asked Mick.
"Ooooh arrrrrr!!! Happy Pig Holiday Camps be the next step in creatin' a worldwide empire! Oi will shortly be announcin' the launch of moi new Pig brand, which will be applied across a whole range of products!"
"I just don't believe it," said Clive. "Farmer Files - the next Richard Branson."
"His woollies aren't as stylish as Richard's though," said Mrs Greasy.
"Oi 'ave plans for a Pig range of jumpers," said Files.
"Yes well anyway," said Des. "I'm feeling rather tired. Could you show us to our chalets?"
"Oooooh arrrrrrrr!!! No!!! But oi'll get moi pinkcoats show you to your pigstys!!!"
"Pinkcoats?" said Des. "I bet they're not happy about that!"
"Pigstys?!" said Mick. "Does he actually want people to come here?"
Des and Mick found themselves sharing Pigsty 147, next door to Clive and Wayne who were unlucky enough to share a pigsty.
"Oh Farmer Files, do I have to share with Wayne?" whinged Clive.
"Be you questionin' moi authority?!" exclaimed Files, fiercely.
"Umm, no," sighed Clive. "Come on Wayne, I'm having the bed by the window..."
"No!!" exclaimed Wayne. "I want the bed by the window!! In case we see some pigs!!"
After settling into their pigsty, Des and Mick went over to the Pinky and Perky Restaurant to study the leaflet and see what attractions were on offer at the Happy Pig Holiday Camp.
"If he's selling pigswill in here, we're leaving straightaway," said Des. "What's on in the cabaret hall in the evenings?"
"Oh...live bands, bingo, a magic show with Paul Daniels, comedy from the resident comedian and fun-packed competitions like the Friday night disco dancing contest. There's also a swimming pool, bar, games room, shop - and even a laundry!!"
"Even a laundry?!!" exclaimed Des, without any hint of sarcasm, honest guv. "Well it doesn't sound too bad then."
"And Bucks Fizz play live on Wednesdays," added Mick.
"You can't have everything," said Des.
"But remember the leaflet still says 'Happy World Holiday Camp' on it," said Mick. "He obviously hasn't got round to getting new ones printed."
"Well he has only just taken over," said Des. "I hope he doesn't change things too much."
They went along to the Pansy Pig (That's Henry's Cat's Friend) Cabaret Hall that night to see the promised live music by The Guzzles - Clacton's only Wurzels tribute band. But unfortunately Files came on stage to announce they had got stuck in a traffic jam on the A53 outside Stoke-on-Trent, and so he himself would be singing some old Dorset folk songs.
"That's got to be the most effective way to clear out a cabaret hall," said Des as the entire audience filed out the door. They decided to go back to their pigsty to get an early night.
But they didn't get much sleep that night - they were kept up by the combination of Clive's disco music and Wayne's rave music that came thumping through the wall.
"Oi Clive, switch that racket off!" shouted Wayne. "I'm tryin' to rock to the latest garage-ambient-house-rave-shed track by MC McTaggart and the Loch Ness Funster!!"
"Certainly not!" shouted Clive. "Haven't you seen the leaflet?"
"Yeah!" exclaimed Wayne. "There's a DJing contest on Wednesday night! So I gotta practice! Yo dudes, it's yer ol' mate DJ Wayne the Rave 'ere, givin' it out pig stylee to the Clacton posse..."
"Never mind that," said Clive, "there's a seventies disco dancing contest on Friday night! So I've got to get some practice in! So please switch your noise off!!"
"Nuff respect to the Waynemeister (that's me), mixin' up the 'ottest flavas in a area..."
"Ah, ah, ah, ah, staying alive, staying alive!" sang Clive.
"Oh I can't take this any longer," exclaimed Des, getting out of bed. He went outside, banged on the door of the pigsty next door and yelled "SHUT UP!!!!!!!"
"Sorry Des," said Dickie, opening the door. Des groaned. "I didn't realise my snoring was keeping you up. Mrs Dickie complains about it all the time."
"No, I'm sorry, I got the wrong pigsty," said Des meekly.
"What's that pleasant music coming from two doors down?" asked Dickie. "It sounds like an rave-disco-garage-beat combo..."
Des went over to the pigsty on the other side of his, and banged on the door.
"SHUT UP!!!!!!!!!!!" he yelled again, even louder. Then he noticed there were lots of people who had come out from their pigstys in their dressing gowns and were looking at him.
"Shhhhh!!!!" they exclaimed.
"Sorry..." said Des meekly.
The next morning Des received a message from one of the pinkcoats to see Farmer Files in his office immediately.
"Oh no!!!" exclaimed a worried Des. "What have I done?? Is it because of all that yelling last night? Is he going to throw me out of the holiday centre?!"
Des apprehensively went along to Files's office. He knocked on the door.
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!!" exclaimed Files. "Come in!"
Des went inside, and saw Files sitting on a large swivel chair, facing the other way.
"Umm..." said Des. "Now it wasn't actually my fault, you see, it was Clive and Wayne, they were keeping me up with their loud music...I'll leave if you want..."
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files spinning round on his chair to face the other way. Unfortunately he spun a bit too fast and ended up spinning round several times. Des tried not to snigger.
"Oooooh arrrrr!! Oi 'aven't quoite got used to this 'ere chair yet!!" exclaimed Files. "Anyway, Des, noice to see you, to see you!"
"Nice!!!" exclaimed Des.
"Oi beg your pardon?" said Files. "The reason oi asked you 'ere this mornin', is because oi be lookin' for a camp comic."
"Have you tried Julian Clary?" suggested Des.
"Ooooh arrrrr!! You misunderstand! Oi be lookin' for a comedian for Monday noights after our previous comedian left recently. Oi need someone who displays real comic talent, who will really connect wi' the audience, someone to whom comedy comes naturally!"
"Thanks!" said Des, feeling rather privileged.
"Someone who be makin' people laugh wherever they go, someone who 'as genuine ability, flair and true comic genius wi' a dash of flamboyance and finesse."
Des's head was getting bigger and bigger.
"So oi be wonderin' if you know anyone," said Files.
"Oh..." said Des, feeling a little deflated. "Jimmy Tarbuck?"
The gang had intended on a trip to the seaside that day, but Files kept calling up each of them in turn, talking to them in his office and making sure they didn't tell anyone about what he had said.
So Mick spent all day in the Ten Little Piggies Games Room playing pool with Clive, Dickie took things easy in the Ten More Little Piggies Swimming Pool (but only until he noticed there were actually live pigs sharing the pool), and Mrs Greasy tried to suggest some improvements to the catering team in the Pinky and Perky Restaurant. Wayne, meanwhile, was nowhere to be seen.
"I wonder if he's found a comedian," said Des to Mick as they sat down in the Pansy Pig (That's Henry's Cat's Friend) Cabaret Hall that evening.
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" announced Files on stage. "Monday be comedy night!! And here he be, your friend and moine, put 'yer trotters together and welcome a real comedy genius, Wayne Coach!!!"
"Evidently not," sighed Des.
Wayne - fresh from victory in the bingo earlier that evening - leapt onto stage in a sparkling jacket.
"'Allo, it's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!!! Unless yer never met me before, in that case, I'm yer new mate Wayne 'ere!!!"
There was no response from the audience.
"'Ow do yer get four pigs in a Mini?" said Wayne. "Two in the front and three in the back!!"
"Why did the pig cross the road? 'Cos it was the sheep's day off!!!"
"I think I'll get swotting for tomorrow night's bingo," said Des.
"What do yer give a pig who's ill?!" said Wayne.
"Oinkment," said Des quietly.
"Medicine!!!" exclaimed Wayne.
The next day the group had planned to visit Duckworld duck activity park near Walton-on-the-Naze, but unfortunately Dickie had to stay at the holiday camp for some reason, and their group ticket for seven would no longer be valid so they all had to stay behind.
That evening in the cabaret hall, after Wayne triumphed in the bingo again, Files made an announcement.
"Ooooh arrrrr!!! Oi be very sorry, but oi will 'ave to disappoint all of you expectin' to see the Paul Daniels Magic Show tonoight. Unfortunately, Mr Daniels be stuck on a traffic jam on the A3102 near Wootton Bassett, so instead here be Dickie the Vicar!!!"
"Good grief," moaned Mick.
"Hi, I'm Dickie the Vicar, and welcome to my groovy magic show!! Say 'yes Dickie'!"
"Yes Dickie," mumbled the audience.
They sat through a few pathetic tricks including making cream cakes disappear and sawing the plank in half.
Wednesday, and the gang went to visit a reservoir outside Colchester, but Mike had to stay behind for some reason. In the evening, Wayne won bingo again, and then Files made his announcement.
"Oi'm sorry, but all those who be lookin' forward to live music from Bucks Fizz are goin' to be a little disappointed, as the whole band be stuck on a traffic jam on the A6 outside Carlisle!"
"Hmmmm, aren't you getting a little bit suspicious about this?" said Mick to Des.
"What, you mean that Wayne keeps winning bingo when he can only count up to three?" said Des.
"So instead, 'ere be Mike the Manic Mechanic to sing some of 'is greatest hits!!!" exclaimed Files.
Mike the Manic Mechanic managed to drive everyone away, leaving the DJing contest which followed with no audience at all. Not that it mattered, since Wayne was the only entrant, and he seemed perfectly happy to play rave records and talk rubbish to himself all night. At least Des and Mick got some sleep for a change.
"Ooooh arrrrr!!! Now unfortunately," announced Files the next night, "tonoight's star turn Jimmy Tarbuck be stuck in a traffic jam on the A839 near Stornoway."
"There is something very fishy going on," said Mick. "Don't you think?"
"No," said Des. "You get a lot of traffic jams this time of year."
"Files has lost all of his star attractions," said Mick. "No Paul Daniels, no Bucks Fizz. Instead we've had Dickie the Vicar and Mike the Manic Mechanic!"
"He's obviously going upmarket," said Des.
"So instead, 'ere be cookery tips from Mrs Greasy!" exclaimed Files.
Friday night was Clive's big night. He opted out of their all-day trip to Clacton Pier to practice for the disco dancing contest. In the evening he gathered backstage with the other contestants, while the bingo was going on.
"This lot haven't made much of an effort," thought Clive. He was dressed up in his white suit, medallion, flares and platforms, while the other contestants were just dressed in normal clothes. "I can smell victory," he thought.
Wayne won bingo for the fifth day in a row. Files then came on to announce that night's entertainment.
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! Tonoight be fun noight!!!"
"For once," sighed Des.
The contestants for the competition were brought on the stage by the pinkcoats.
"Oooooh arrrrrrr!! Here be all the contestants for our knobbly knees competition!!!"
"WHAT??!!!!" exclaimed Clive. "I entered for the disco dancing competition!"
"Oh sorry Clive, oi cancelled that due to lack of interest!" said Files.
Clive fumed. Even worse, his earlier prediction still came true - he won!
"Well done!!" exclaimed Des, as he came off stage. "You've got officially the knobbliest knees in Clacton!"
"Oh shut up," sighed Clive as he looked at his prize - a piggybank, sadly with no money inside.
The next day it was time to go home.
"Oooooh arrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files as the gang boarded Des's bus. "Oi 'ope you enjoyed your stay!"
"Yeah, I've won a fortune!" exclaimed Wayne, after claiming victory in the DJ contest and five days of bingo. "I've won a total of seven quid this week!!"
"Ooooh arrrrrr!! Maybe we'll meet again!! Don't know where, don't know when!!"
"I think, somehow, we probably will, on some sunny day," said Des. "I'm bet you're glad we turned up this week! You'd have been really stuck otherwise!"
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! Yes, thanks everyone," said Files. "You don't want to stay on for another week or two? Or three? Those roadworks are really bad, oi 'eard!"
"Oh no way," said Mick. "I really can't see how you're going to make this a success! You've lost all your big stars, ridiculous names for all the facilities and, worst of all, live pigs in the swimming pool!!"
"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "This holiday camp is going to be a success!! Mark moi words!!"
Copyright © Robert Williams