by Robert Williams

It was holiday time again folks, and this year Clive had booked them all in at a nice holiday cottage in Cornwall.

"Why didn't you let me organise the holiday this year?!" whinged Des.

"Are you mad?!" exclaimed Clive. "Last year you booked us into a derelict cottage that was about to be demolished!!"

"So?" said Des. "It had character."

"No one's told Mrs Greasy we're going on holiday have they?" said Mick. "For obvious reasons, of course." They all shook their heads.

"Yeah, all I said to 'er was, me, Des, Mick and Clive definitely aren't goin' on 'oliday to Cornwall next week, 'onest mate!!" said Wayne.

"Good, and we don't want Dickie there either, in case he sets up a mobile disco or something," said Mick.

Then they turned their attention to how they would get there.

"I haven't got my van, or bus, or horsebox, or milk float any more," said Des. "I went over to see if Mike the Manic Mechanic had anything else he could sell me, but he wasn't there, strangely. So we'll all have to go in my Fiat 126."

"You must be out of your mind!!" exclaimed Clive. "I'm not going all the way to Cornwall in that thing!!"

"You can all come in me van if yer want!!" said Wayne.

"See above," said Clive.

"Can't we all go in your car then?" said Mick.

"Not likely!" said Clive. "I'm not having you lot of ruffians climbing all over my extremely expensive and exclusive BMW!"

"Well that does it then, we'll each have to go in our own car," said Des. "Mick, you can choose who to go with."

"That is environmentally unfriendly and wasteful of the earth's resources, and will cause unnecessary extra congestion," said Mick. "Why don't we go on the train?"

Des, Wayne and Clive stared at him in astonishment.

"T-t-t-t-train?" said Des.

"Well come on, what's so bad about that?" said Mick.

"We'll get held up!" said Des. "Leaves on the line!!"

"It's summer, there's no leaves on the line at this time of year!" exclaimed Mick.

"Wrong kind of snow?" said Des.

"It's summer!!" exclaimed Mick.

"Err...pollen on the line?" said Des.

"See, you've got no good excuses, have you?" said Mick. "It'll be much quicker than driving there, as well. Then we can hire a car when we get there."

Having no real excuses, they reluctantly agreed. So that Saturday morning Des, Mick, Clive and Wayne all gathered at the local railway station. As they waited for the train, they were surprised to see Farmer Files and some pigs walk onto the platform.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" he exclaimed when he saw the others.

"Oh hello Farmer Files, what a surprise to see you here," said Des.

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!! Oi see you not be wearin' one of those beau'iful jumpers I sold you at moi PIGwear outlet!!" exclaimed Files.

"Ahhh....yes..." said Des. He decided to quickly change the subject. "So are you coming on this train as well, Farmer Files?"

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "Oi be not just coming on this train!! Oi be drivin' this train!!"

"WHAT?!?!?" exclaimed the foursome.

"Look, the train's coming in now," said Mick.

"This is the age of the train!" sung Clive.

"What is the age of the train?" said Des.

"I'd say it's brand new!" said Clive.

"Oh my god, look at it, it's pink!" exclaimed Des.

As the pink train pulled into the platform they saw that it was decorated with pictures of pigs, and had 'PIGrail' logos all over it.

"I don't like the look of this!" exclaimed Des. "Mick, this is all your fault!!"

"Farmer Files, you don't by any chance own this rail company?" said Mick.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!!" exclaimed Files. "That be roight!! PIGrail be moi latest venture!! Oi'll see you later!!" Files and his pigs went off to the front of the train to take over the driver's carriage.

"PIGrail, for goodness sake," tutted Clive as they clambered onto the train.

"Now this is going to be a long journey, so we'd better get some decent seats," said Mick.

"Oh botherations, I forgot to bring one with me," said Des.

"It's all right, they've provided plenty of their own," said Mick as they walked into an empty carriage.

"I don't think there'll be too much trouble finding a seat anyway!" said Clive.

They sat down at four seats with a table in between. No one else appeared to be getting on the train, so it soon looked as though the foursome would be alone in the carriage.

Before long, the train set off on its journey, and Farmer Files's voice came booming over the intercom. Inevitably it was rather muffled and distorted.

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! Good mornin' passengers, this be your driver speakin'! May oi be offerin' you a warm welcome to the PIGrail West Coun'ry Express service to Penzance, callin' at Basin'stoke, Salisbury, Yeovil, Exe'er, Plymouth and Nunea'on. Drinks and snacks be available in the buffet car. Oi hope you be enjoyin' your journey with PIGrail - and please moind the porkers, if you don't moind, thank you. Oooooh arrrrrr!!!"

"I could hardly understand that!" said Des.

"Doesn't matter, you can hardly understand what Farmer Files says normally, let alone over the intercom!" said Mick.

"Mind the porkers?" said Clive. "Are there actually pigs on this train?!"

"Evidently," sighed Des as a pig poked his head out from under his seat and scurried off.

They hadn't been travelling long before Clive started to feel hungry.

"Get us something to eat, Des," said Clive.

"Why me?" grumbled Des.

"See if there's anything decent in the buffet car," said Clive. "We'll pay you back!"

Des sighed, and walked off to look for the buffet car. However it wasn't long before he came back - without the snacks. He was shaking all over, with his face aghast and his eyes agog.

"Oi Des, where's our snacks?!" exclaimed Clive.

Des was so shocked he could hardly speak. He shakily pointed back towards the buffet car.

"What on earth is the matter?!" said Mick.

"M-m-m-m-m-misses G-g-g-g-g-g-reasy..." mumbled Des.

"What are you talking about?!" said Clive. "Mrs Greasy isn't on this train!! There's no way she could be!!"

But Des just stood there, gibbering.

"I'll go and get our snacks then!!" exclaimed Clive.

Clive went off, but came back soon afterwards, without the snacks, in exactly the same state as Des.

"M-m-m-m-m-missess G-g-g-g-g-g-reasy..." mumbled Clive, pointing back towards the buffet car.

"Oh this is ridiculous!" exclaimed Mick. "I'm going to investigate!"

When he reached the buffet car Mick was shocked to see a younger version of Mrs Greasy behind the counter.

"Good morning sir, what would you like to eat?" said the younger version of Mrs Greasy. "Everything's been prepared personally by me!"

Mick gasped. He returned to their carriage in exactly the same state as Clive and Des. So now there were three gibbering idiots in the carriage. And now Wayne was getting hungry. So he decided to go to the buffet car himself.

"'Allo, it's yer ol' mate Wayne 'ere!" said Wayne to the younger version of Mrs Greasy.

"Good morning sir, what would you like to eat?" said the younger version of Mrs Greasy. "Everything's been prepared personally by me!"

"I'll 'ave a cheese 'n' marmite sandwich!!" said Wayne.

"Coming right up!" said the younger version of Mrs Greasy. She started to prepare the cheese and marmite sandwich.

"Yer know, you remind of someone I know!" said Wayne as he waited.


"Yeah..." said Wayne. "Someone who works down me road...I know! Mike the Manic Mechanic!!"

The younger version of Mrs Greasy looked askance at Wayne.

By the time Wayne had got back with a rather manky looking sandwich, Des, Mick and Clive were beginning to regain their composure.

"Look, let's all go and investigate together," said Mick. "Safety in numbers, and all that."

So all four of them walked cautiously down the train and into the buffet car.

"Good morning sirs, what would you like to eat?" said the younger version of Mrs Greasy. "Everything's been prepared personally by me!"

"Hang on, that isn't Mrs Greasy, is it?" said Mick. "Let's find out. Excuse me, are you any relation to the Mrs Greasy who runs a cafe in south London?"

"That's right, she's my mother," said the younger version of Mrs Greasy. "My name's Miss Greasy. My mother taught me all I know about cookery, and I'm going to take over her cafe when she retires."

"Oh my god!!!" gasped Des and Clive in unison.

"Now what would you all like to eat?" said Miss Greasy. "Everything's been prepared personally by me!"

"Are you sure it's safe?" said Clive.

"Come on, no one can be as bad at cooking as Mrs Greasy, not even her daughter, surely!" said Mick.

"But look at Wayne!" said Des. Wayne was happily tucking into his sandwich, just as he would if it had been made by Mrs Greasy.

"Ummm...is this the only buffet car on this train?" asked Mick.

"Yes that's right, so it's very strange that I don't get much business," said Miss Greasy. "That gentleman there is the only person who's bought anything all morning!"

"Yummy yummy!" said 'that gentleman', who not surprisingly was Wayne. "Can I have another one please!"

"Certainly sir," said Miss Greasy. "And can I get you three gentlemen anything?"

"Mmmmmaybe later..." said Des. "Let's go!"

Des, Clive and Mick hurried off, having had all the information they needed to convince themselves that eating anything bought at Miss Greasy's buffet would produce similar effects to eating anything bought at Mrs Greasy's cafe.

"This is so typical," whinged Clive. "We go as far away as we can from Mrs Greasy's cafe yet we still can't escape her influence!! I knew I shouldn't have got on this train!"

"Oh stop complaining," sighed Mick.

"So what are we going to do then?!" exclaimed Clive. "I'm still hungry!!"

"Wanna a bit of me sandwich?!" said Wayne, waving his second manky sandwich in Clive's face. Clive grimaced.

A few uneventful minutes passed - and then Farmer Files came walking through the carriage.

"Ooooooh arrrrrrr!!" exclaimed Files.

"Farmer Files, aren't you supposed to be driving this train!" said Mick, a little alarmed.

"Ooooh arrrrr!!!" said Files. "It be all roight, oi've 'anded over to one of moi porkers!!"

"WHAT?!?!?" gasped Des. "You mean this train's being driven by a pig?!?!?!?"

"Oooooh arrrrrr!!! 'Ad you goin' for a moment there!!"

"Phew," said Mick. "So who's driving?"

"Oi've put this 'ere train onto autodrive!" exclaimed Files.

"Autodrive?!" said Des. "Is that safe?!"

"Ooooh arrrrrr!!! Of course it be safe!! There be nothing to worry about, it be the most sophistica'ed system in the world!! In fact, it be as safe as eatin' anything cooked by Miss Greasy in moi buffet car!!!"

"I'm getting off this train!" exclaimed Des, going to get up.

"Sit down, you're not going anywhere!" said Mick.

"Now come on moi porkers, hurry up!" said Files. A line of porkers came rushing through the carriage. "Oi just be takin' moi porkers for a walk!!"

As the porkers toddled through, Clive looked at them and licked his lips.

"Oh Clive, you can't," sighed Mick once they had passed through to the next carriage.

"Come on, I'm hungry!!!" exclaimed Clive.

But it wasn't long before thoughts turned away from Clive's stomach to what the train was about to head into:

"OH NO!!!" exclaimed Wayne. "A TUNNEL!!!"

"Oh no, don't tell me Wayne's frightened of tunnels," sighed Mick.

Des immediately went and dived under his seat, as they entered the aforementioned tunnel.

"And so is Des, by the looks of things," said Mick.

He quickly dived out again when he found there was another pig under there, and so went and dived under another seat.

Once they had got only a short way into the tunnel, the train ground to a halt.

"Now what?!!" exclaimed Clive.

"Ooooooh arrrrrrr!!!" said Files voice, booming over the intercom. "Oi be sorry for the delay, but unfortunately one of moi porkers 'as escaped from this 'ere train!!! Oi be just goin' to look for it, but any 'elp in searchin' for 'im would be much apprecia'ed!! 'Is name is Percy, by the way!! Percy...Percy...where are you..."

"Oh great," said Clive. "So now we've got to wait till Files finds his stupid pig before we can carry on!!"

"Maybe one of the other passengers will find it," said Mick.

"We are the only passengers!!!" exclaimed Clive. "And Wayne and Des won't help, they're both hiding under their seats!!"

"So I suppose that means we'll have to help..." said Mick.

"I'm afraid so," sighed Clive, "if only to get this stupid train moving again!!"

So Clive and Mick reluctantly got off the train and started looking aimlessly round the dark and grimy tunnel for the missing pig.

"Percy...Percy..." said Mick, calling around. "How on earth did it escape from that train anyway?!"

"How should I know?!" exclaimed Clive.

As they searched around they were shocked to hear the train start up again.

"OI!!!" yelled Clive and Mick. "WAIT FOR US!!!"

But to no avail - the train disappeared off down the tunnel into the distance.

"I don't believe this!!" exclaimed Clive. "Now remind me, whose idea was it to go on the train?!"

"Look, just stop moaning and let's get after it!!" exclaimed Mick.

They dashed off after the train. Luckily, it had got held up by a signal just out of the tunnel, so they were able to catch it up and clamber back on board.

"Where have you two been?!" said Des when they arrived back at their seats. "You've both covered in muck!!"

"Don't ask," sighed an out-of-breath Mick, collapsing into his seat. "Just don't ask."

"Ooooh arrrrrr, what a funny thing!" said Files, who happened to be passing through the carriage. "Percy didn't escape after all, 'e be in the toilet all along!! Ha, ha, ha!!!"

"Oh, ha ha ha," said Clive, sarcastically.

The remainder of their journey remained thankfully uneventful, save for various delays caused by pollen on the line. They eventually pulled in at Penzance station over five hours late. Files's voice came over the intercom.

"Oooooh arrrrrr, this be your driver speakin', oi 'ope you 'ave enjoyed your journey on this 'ere PIGrail Express, and oi 'ope you'll travel wi' us again soon! Toodeloo!!"

"It'll be so much quicker on the train," said Des, mimicking Mick, as they finally disembarked.

"We'd have been here hours before if we'd driven," moaned Clive. "Even in Des's car!!"

"All I want is a shower," sighed Mick, still covered in grime from their expedition in the tunnel.

They walked from the station to the holiday cottage, very tired and weary. It was now almost dark, but as they walked up to the cottage, one thing stood out. A bright green Ford Cortina parked outside the next door cottage.

"Oh no...it couldn't be..." said Mick.

Just then Mike the Manic Mechanic walked out of the next door cottage.

"Good grief, what a surprise!!" exclaimed Mike when he saw Des, Mick, Wayne and Clive. They stood there dumbfounded. "Have you come on holiday here as well?!! Well come on, say something!!"

"How nice to see you, what a funny coincidence," mumbled Mick.

"I see you drove here," said Des, pointing at Mike's Cortina. "How wasteful of the earth's resources, environmentally unfriendly and causing unnecessary extra congestion. You could have gone on the train!"

"Are you mad!!" exclaimed Mike. "Haven't you heard?! Farmer Files has taken over the express service from London to Cornwall, and his reliability record is very poor, apparently. And I've heard he has live pigs on his trains!! You'd have to be a loony to travel on that!"

"Oh really?" said Des. "Well, luckily we..."

"We went on that!!" exclaimed Wayne.

"Did you?!" exclaimed Mike. "You crazy lot!! Well anyway, since you didn't drive here, you'll be needing a hire car!!"

"Umm, well..." said Des.

"I know!" said Mike. "We'll let you travel with us!!"

"'We'??" said Mick. "'Us'??"

Just then Mrs Greasy walked out of the cottage. The others' hearts sank as far as they could sink.

"Oh hello you lot, what a coincidence!" said Mrs Greasy. "Are you on holiday here as well?! Well you don't need to bother cooking for yourselves, I'll do it for you!"

Then Dickie the Vicar walked out of the cottage. The others' hearts sank even further.

"Hi there you groovers!" said Dickie. "Nice to see you've all popped along, I'm holding one of my mobile discos tonight, I hope you can all come!! I've even bought some new Tom Jones records for the occasion!! Groooovy!!!!"

"Have you three got your return tickets handy?!" said Mick to Des, Clive and Wayne. "I think we'll be needing them sooner than we thought!!"

"That's the last time you're booking our holiday, Clive!" exclaimed Des.

Copyright © Robert Williams

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